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Minister Alex White concludes meetings with domestic energy suppliers

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Dublin, 28 January 2015

Minister for Energy, Alex White TD, this week met the chief executives and other senior representatives of Airtricity, Bord Gais Energy, Electric Ireland, Energia and Prepay Power.

Minister White said he noted the recent price reductions announced by Airtricity, Bord Gais Energy and Electric Ireland, and said all the companies had stressed to him the savings that consumers could make by switching suppliers and availing of discount rates.

He now intends to meet the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) to consider regulatory issues raised by the suppliers, and to get the CER’s views on the perceived slowness with which energy suppliers have passed wholesale price reductions to consumers. He will also seek their analysis of what can be done to address the very high proportion of customers that have never switched suppliers.

Minister White said: “Although I have no direct role in setting energy prices, I have urged the suppliers to ensure that households get the full benefit of wholesale energy price reductions. I also believe consumers would benefit from more transparency about the costs that determine domestic prices.

“I certainly urge all consumers to switch or speak to their supplier to demand the best rate on offer. Another option is to use one of the switching websites to get a better deal.

“I will be asking the CER, which has responsibility for monitoring the market to ensure it is actually working for consumers, to explore ways of significantly increasing the number of households that benefit from the discounts that arise from switching energy suppliers.

“I am particularly concerned that people experiencing, or at risk of, energy poverty tend not to get these benefits. This needs to be addressed and the regulator needs to ensure that the market works for all energy consumers.”

Minister White said he would soon be publishing a consultation paper on addressing energy poverty, which will seek public comment on whether energy markets are working for consumers.

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