Published: Thu, 26 May 2016
Seán Kelly MEP (Ireland South), lead negotiator on energy consumer issues for the EPP Group, welcomed today’s European Parliament backing for lower energy costs for consumers after a vote in Brussels. Lower energy costs would especially benefit Irish consumers who pay the highest basic electricity prices in Europe.
“In 2014, Irish consumers were paying the third highest electricity bills in the EU, after Germany and Denmark. It is important to note that the high cost of electricity in Germany and Denmark is due to taxes, levies and VAT. Ireland has below average EU costs for these add-ons, so we effectively have the highest basic electricity price in the EU.
“Obviously, as an island nation we’ve been heavily reliant on fuel imports, which explains the high price, but a reduction would greatly benefit householders and businesses,” said Mr Kelly, Ireland’s only full member of the Parliament’s Committee on Industry Research and Energy (ITRE).
Mr Kelly wants to empower the consumer to control their energy use and particularly worked to achieve greater transparency for energy consumers in this European Parliament report entitled Delivering a new deal for energy consumers:
“I successfully called for the creation of new platforms to enable consumers to compare the different elements of energy tariffs. These would be operated by energy departments, energy regulators, or specifically created public entities.
“We need to ensure that consumers know what they are paying for and have a choice. I am calling for the creation of independent platforms that would provide detailed information on the makeup of the prices that are offered by different providers.”
“We have price comparison websites already, but I want us to go a step further – introducing independent platforms that provide specific and detailed information on the proportion of taxes, levies and add-ons contained in the bill. That would enable the consumer to easily seek more suitable offers.”
MEP Kelly also ensured today’s report promotes an ease of switching between energy providers to bring more competition to the market: “A well-functioning, competitive, EU-wide market that encourages cost-transparency is the best way to bring favourable conditions to consumers.”
In today’s majority vote, MEPs also called for greater measures to alleviate energy poverty in the EU.