About 2,000 big employers face paying an extra €50 million in total on their electricity bills from next October under a proposal floated by energy regulators.
The Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) plans to add €100 million to charges for using the electricity transmission system from October 1st in a bid to cut consumption and stave off possible power cuts.
Separately, the regulator proposes shifting €50 million a year in network charges now imposed on homes to large energy users, a group including pharmaceutical makers, food processors, tech companies and others, from October 1st.
Almost 2,000 businesses are likely to be affected by the move, which reverses a 12-year-old government direction to transfer these costs from large energy users to households.
According to a CRU statement, the “rebalancing”, as it has dubbed the exercise, could cut the average home’s electricity bill by about €40 a year.
However, it is likely to anger some industry groups, as it comes ahead of a winter when employers and families could face increased energy bills and potential squeezes in electricity supplies.
The CRU’s proposal is included in the consultation paper proposing to levy an extra €100 million in peak-time charges across the board to combat what the commission calls “significant risks” to secure electricity supplies in coming years.
Under those proposals, 22 extra large energy users, including data centres and big manufacturers, will shoulder €70 million of the total cost.
National electricity grid operator EirGrid has told the CRU that it cannot fully support the proposals in their current form.
The commission told the Government of the controversial €100 million plan on June 22nd in a presentation to the Energy Security Emergency Group.
Mark Griffin, secretary general of the Department of Environment, where Eamon Ryan is Minister, chairs that group. The body includes representatives from the Department of Enterprise, EirGrid, the CRU and National Oil Reserves Agency.
The Government established the emergency group in April after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatened to aggravate ongoing problems with security of electricity supplies in the Republic.
The plan targets extra-large energy users as these are expected to contribute to most of the growth in demand for electricity between now and 2025.
The commission admits that no one industry is to blame for the increased risk to supplies, but argues that the “significant demand growth” from these businesses cannot be overlooked.
Growing demand, power plant closures, ageing generators and a failure to provide new contracted generators are to blame for the squeeze on electricity supplies, the CRU admits.