Cllr. Ted Tynan

Cllr. Ted Tynan

The Workers’ Party have said that new figures show that electricity prices in Ireland have shot up dramatically in real terms since the introduction of competition and market liberalisation.  When taxes and other charges are disregarded Ireland emerges as the 2nd most expensive country in the EU for electricity.

Workers’ Party Cork City Councillor Ted Tynan said the latest statistics from Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, were disturbing and couldn’t be explained on fuel market prices alone.

Cllr. Tynan said: “It is obvious that liberalisation of the electricity market has been of no benefit to householders in Ireland, in fact the free market has led to electricity prices increasing exponentially leaving this essential service a major burden on Irish families”.

“What today’s report does not say”, said Cllr. Tynan, “Is that we have gone from having among the lowest electricity prices in Europe to one of the highest during a period in which electricity prices were supposed to fall due to competition.  In 1999 Irish electricity users were paying prices that were 18% lower than the EU average and the third cheapest in the EU after Greece and Finland.  Now we are at the top of the scale” (source ESB, 1999).

The Workers’ Party councillor said that while some of the massive price increase could be explained by increased fuel prices and taxes, there was clearly a greatly increased margin taken by suppliers too. “This shows the fallacy of competition as a downwards driver of prices and suggests that a major rethink is required”, said Cllr. Tynan.