More bad news as our power bills go up today
ELECTRICITY prices jumped almost 5pc today as consumers were digesting details of the costly bank bailout.
A levy designed to fund wind power and subsidise inefficient peat-fuelled generation stations is to be applied to all domestic and business bills.
Despite widespread opposition to the hike, customers will begin to notice the 4.9pc rise from today.
Politicians from all sides of the divide have criticised the move which comes into effect a day after taxpayers were warned of a savage Budget in December.
ESB recently revealed that it is being forced to cut off more than 2,000 households every month because customers are struggling to meet their payment obligations.
However, the public service obligation (PSO) levy has been given the green light.
It will apply to bills regardless of what service provider the customer is signed up to.
Estimates say that consumers can expect the average bill to rise by around €2.73 every month. Energy Minister Eamon Ryan has stoutly defended the unpopular hike, but has said it will re-examine the level of support given to subsidise peat-fuelled stations which are seen as inefficient.
The Commission for Energy Regulation said that it had "no control" over the levy as it was the result of Government legislation. Electricity prices had been falling at regular intervals during the past two years, mainly due to increased competition in the market.
Fine Gael, Labour and groups representing the elderly have called for the levy to be postponed given the tough economic circumstances.
Meanwhile, ESB is also coming under pressure to reverse plans to introduce a minimum payment of €20 when customers are paying bills at post offices.
From today, phone company Eircom will reset their payment rules to insist that customers pay at least €20 when paying off their bill at a post office.