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 Header Item Energy Regulation (Continued)
 Header Item Renewable Energy Generation

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 806 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Michael Moynihan: Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan] Commodity oil and gas prices reduced by about 11% in the wholesale market in May, but that reduction was not passed on immediately. It is the old argument. If the price of oil goes up, the price increase is immediately passed on at the pumps or in the cost of home heating oil, but if it goes down, they tell us they have oil in storage and that it will take them a number of months to get to the cheaper oil. Is the Minister satisfied that the regulator is doing everything in its power to ensure the price of energy for homes or businesses is at the lowest possible level?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Unfortunately, since about mid-2009, the price of fossil fuels has continued to rise in the international marketplace. We are 100% dependent on oil imports and 95% dependent on gas imports. In that sense, we are price takers. To that extent, we import fossil fuels and are, therefore, vulnerable. The Deputy will acknowledge that for the first time in a very long time the most recent Bord Gáis Energy index shows that there has been a decrease this month, which is certainly welcome. However, I am advised that gas prices reached their highest ever level in March. That is the context.

I share the Deputy's concern about disconnections and use every opportunity to bring to the attention of consumers that under the protocol in place with the supply companies, where a consumer enters into a prepayment plan or installs a pay-as-you-go meter, the household cannot not be cut off. There has been a considerable rise in the number of installed meters, but it could be better. I appeal to people to take steps to install meters to avoid being disconnected.

Deputy Michael Moynihan: Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan Are the Minister and the Department happy with the role of the Commission for Energy Regulation? Has the Department explored the possibility of extending the commission's remit in the light of the number of disconnections and ensuring the best possible price for householders and businesspeople? Is the Minister satisfied with the commission's remit and has he looked at ways of extending it?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The Commission for Energy Regulation does a good and conscientious job. I met it two weeks ago to discuss the issue raised by the Deputy. The commission and I are examining whether there are measures not known heretofore that can be brought to bear. As the Deputy is aware, the regulator is required to promote efficient, orderly, fair and competitive markets; to facilitate investment; and to protect consumers' interests. It is that third requirement on which the Deputy focuses. Striking a balance in that regard requires considerable knowledge, skill and expertise. That requirement of the regulator is continually monitored. I have no short-term plans in respect of reviewing the entire role of the Commission for Energy Regulation.

Renewable Energy Generation

 53. Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte his Department's renewable energy target; if this is achievable; the strategy in place to reach this target; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26995/13]

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