Thursday, May 11, 2023

Vivienne Clarke

The Commissioner for the Regulation of Utilities Aoife MacEvilly has said the CRU will work with energy providers to ensure transparency in costs.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show, Ms MacEvilly urged anyone who was having trouble paying their energy bill to engage with their provider as there were options and supports in place to assist.

“It is really important for customers to understand that even though prices have fallen, they are still higher than they have been. So wholesale prices are still around double the normal wholesale price. So what we’ll see is prices will come down, but they won’t be going down to the levels that we’ve seen in the past based on current market prices that we could expect to see some level of relief for customers towards the end of this year.”

Ms MacEvilly said it was important to get the message across “very clearly” to suppliers that they “absolutely need” to be passing on these prices as soon as they can.

“They shouldn’t be waiting around, and that is the challenge that we place to them. How quickly, how soon and how much can they pass on this to their customers? So are they waiting around?

“What we’re saying to them is, get those prices passed on to customers as quickly as possible. And I think also one of the challenges that we’re putting to them as well is can you do a better job of explaining this to your customers, please? Because it feels like we’re the only people out here trying to explain these wholesale and retail market dynamics. I think customers would value hearing it from their own suppliers.”

The CRU did not want to be in the position of being “an apologist” for the energy companies.

“We want to be able to give confidence to customers that the market is working efficiently, even though at the moment that’s delivering high prices because of the fundamentals.

“We want to be able to assure customers that the market will also deliver the reductions. And we also want to give clarity to customers. Prices are unlikely to reduce to the levels that we’ve seen before, and that’s by way of helping customers think about how do they start budgeting, how do they start preparing for next winter.

“Prices should be a bit lower, but they won’t be back down to the levels we’ve seen before. So that’s why we’re explaining this for customers.”

The CRU would continue to monitor the market “very carefully,” she said.

“We’re monitoring the wholesale price trends and we’re monitoring the retail price trends. If at some stage we become concerned, or we see an issue, or we see evidence of something that is not quite what we’d expect in a competitive market, then we can step in and investigate that.

“At the moment, however, what we’re seeing is the normal evolution of retail prices based on the underlying wholesale and other market price trends.”

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