It is “absolutely infuriating” for customers to see the profits of energy companies soaring amid a cost of living crisis, Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly has said.
Her comment’s come after ESB Networks reported a post-tax profit for the first six months of the year of €390 million on Friday.
The figure represents a trebling of the company’s takings after tax, prompting anger as households struggle under the burden of increasing energy bills facing into the winter.
Both Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the State, which is ESB’s majority owner, will recoup much of that profit and return it to the people.
Speaking on Friday, Mr Varadkar said the Government “should take back some of the big profits that some of the energy companies are making”.
“When it comes to ESB, we can do that to one of two ways: either a windfall tax or taking a bigger dividend because it is owned by the people ultimately.”
The Irish Times reports the Government is also examining ways it could accelerate the use of the ESB profits to help bring down energy bills ahead of the budget on Tuesday, September 27th.
Earlier in the week, Mr Martin said plans to introduce a windfall tax will see the levy backdated so it applies to the whole year.
The Taoiseach admitted it is yet unclear how much money such a levy would raise and is dependent on energy price and tax profit caps proposed by the EU Commission.
Despite the Government assurances, Ms O’Reilly said companies making such large profits when households are struggling is not fair.
“The people are absolutely fearful of what is coming this winter. They are terrified of the bills that are going to come in and then they open the papers and they read that the ESB is making a profit of €2 million per day.
“This is not going down well with the people. They really feel like the Government should be intervening here at this stage and ensuring that the price of their bills is going to be capped for the next couple of months.”