STATE-owned Electric Ireland is to forgo profit from its residential electricity business in the coming year and give customers a credit payment.
It amounts to some rare good news for hard-pressed householders who have been hit with a succession of double-digit price rises this year.
Electric Ireland said a €50 credit will be applied to each existing residential electricity customer, and the Electric Ireland Hardship Fund will be increased by €2m to €5m.
It comes after a similar recent announcement from rival SSE Airtricity, and persistent criticism of the profits made by Electric Ireland’s parent company ESB.
The ESB saw its profits soar in the six months to the end of June as energy prices surged.
Earnings, including a one-off gain from what it called “exceptional volatility” in global commodity markets, jumped to €390.3m from €128.4m a year ago.
Much of the profit came from it generating business.
In June ESB said its generation and supply businesses are required to operate separately.
It had said increased profits from ESB’s generation business could not be used to offset costs incurred by Electric Ireland.
Now it is forgoing profit from its residential electricity business.
Some 1.1 million customers will benefit from a €50 credit applied to each existing Electric Ireland residential electricity customer and the Electric Ireland Hardship Fund will be increased to €5m.
Executive director at Electric Ireland Pat Fenlon said: “2022 has been a very challenging year for energy customers, primarily as a result of increases in international gas prices.
“We are acutely aware of the pressures that customers face this Winter and, recognising these exceptional circumstances, Electric Ireland is forgoing profit from its residential electricity business. Electric Ireland’s residential customers can each expect to receive €50 credit in the New Year.”
He said the boost to the company’s hardship fund will help ensure the fund is accessible to those most in need of support during the Winter months.”
Mr Fenlon said: “We are committed to helping any of our customers who experience financial difficulty.
“As always, we encourage any Electric Ireland customer who has difficulty in paying their energy bill to engage with us and we will work with them to put a manageable payment plan in place.”
Last month SSE Airtricity said it will forego all profits this financial year as it provides support for its domestic customers during the cost of living crisis.
SSE Airtricity provides energy to more than 700,000 homes and businesses across the island of Ireland.
Electricity customers got the first of three €200 credits to their bills in the last few weeks.
And all electricity customers are due a refund on their bills from the decision of the regulator to decrease the Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy.
The PSO is paid by all electricity customers in Ireland and is used to support the renewable energy sector.
High wholesale prices mean renewable generators do not need a subsidy this year.
Households will get a payment of €89 next year.
And the Vat on energy bills has been reduced from 13.5pc to 9pc.
Electricity bills have more than doubled to around €2,000 per household over a year, due to a string of price-rise announcements in the last two years.