The Chairperson of ICMSA Farm Business Committee has publicly called on the Minister for Communication, Energy & Natural Resources to investigate the “inexplicably slow” fall in domestic energy prices relative to the to the plunge in international oil and gas prices. Lorcan McCabe confirmed that his Association has written to both Minister Alex White and to the Commission for Energy Regulation querying, in the first instance, the continuing high cost of electricity when global energy prices were experiencing double-digit falls.
“The most recent Eurostat figures indicate that electricity in Ireland is the fourth most expensive in Europe at a time when a barrel of Brent crude has fallen to a six-year low. The cost of natural gas has fallen by 18% in the last year but we’re not seeing reductions of anything like that order for the customers and obviously we’re most concerned with the energy cost to our farmer-members who, if they are milk suppliers, are looking at anything up to a 50% drop in income according to the estimates of Teagasc. Farmer incomes are falling and we still have that steady year-on-year input inflation so, for instance, fertiliser prices are set to rise by 7% this year. Farmers – and the population in general desperately need to see a reduction in energy prices that is someway proportionate to the overall reduction in energy prices that the energy providers and utility companies are enjoying. For instance, the most recent price reductions announced by Bord Gais are absolutely puny compared to the price reductions that Bord Gais are enjoying at their level. It’s the old, old, story: when energy prices go up the customers’ charges are increased the very next day, but when energy prices go down we have these inexplicably slow ‘lags’ where customer prices are kept higher for very much longer than the wholesale market evidence would seem to justify. We need action on this immediately”, said Mr McCabe.
Ends 23 January 2015.
Lorcan McCabe, 086-3979804
Chairperson, ICMSA Farm Services Committee
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office