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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Charlie Weston Twitter Email

Discounts for ESB staff on their bills cancel out worst of energy price rises

Posed image of a worried couple examining their electricity bill

Thousands of ESB workers and retired staff will be insulated from the brunt of the latest massive price hike announced by the State-owned company.

The ESB’s supply business, Electric Ireland, is hitting its 1.2 million residential customers with a 27pc electricity price hike from next month.

This will lead to annual bills doubling to €2,177 on average over a year. And gas bills going up 37.5pc, pushing annual costs to €1,900 on average.

But ESB staff and its retired workers continue to benefit from generous staff discounts. It is estimated the discount is currently worth €700 to staff a year.

The discounts have been in operation for years, ensuring cheaper electricity for life for employees as soaring energy bills push up living costs.

Electricity bills for customers are to surge by €446 a year on average after October’s rise.

But the staff discounts estimated by energy experts are worth an estimated €700 a year on their electricity bills – around a third of the average annual cost.

Workers get a 55pc discount on the first 1,000 units of the full-price rate of electricity on their bill every two months, helping insulate them from energy inflation. There are no staff discounts on the standing charge or public service obligation (PSO) levy. Earlier this year, the semi-state company confirmed the number of ESB retirees in receipt of a staff electricity discount was approximately 7,000.

A spokesperson said: “ESB staff who voluntarily retire after the age of 60, or mandatory retirements up to age 66, are entitled to the staff electricity discount.”

Once retired, the full discount applied only until they reached 66, he said, adding: “Thereafter, it may reduce to about 50pc pending the application of household benefits via the Department of Social Protection.”

The ESB’s Electric Ireland has announced five price rises since the start of 2021. Meanwhile, its operating profits rose 10pc last year to €679m.

It has said international energy crisis continues to have an impact on energy prices.

Bord Gáis – which yesterday announced that its customers’ electricity and gas bills would increase by 34pc and 39pc respectively from next month – was asked recently whether staff qualified for a similar discount on their energy costs.

It said: “Bord Gáis Energy employs just over 340 people and, like all reputable companies, offers competitive rewards packages designed to attract and retain talented people. The detail of our employee rewards packages is a private matter between the company and its employees.”

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