Electric Ireland plans to review its €3 million customer hardship fund following criticism from politicians.
Executive director Pat Fenlon appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Environment and Climate Action Committee on behalf on the company Tuesday morning.
He revealed around 125,000 customers are behind on their bills and admitted “when people hear [their] profit numbers it can be difficult to reconcile”.
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Electric Ireland is the retail division of state owned ESB and made €357m in the first six months of 2022 - or €2m a day as TD Christopher O’Sullivan pointed out.
Mr Fenlon told the committee customer price rises have been driven by wholesale gas costs, which have “increased by over 1000% over the past 18 months”.
As a result he said Electric Ireland’s whole sale energy costs will rise from €300m in 2020 to a predicted €2 billion this year.
He said the firm hedges costs over time to offset rises around 18-24 months ahead to protect customers from “volatility”.
“Electric Ireland is very aware that these price increases are difficult for customers,” he added.
The company was criticised over its €3 million hardship fund for customers, with Mr O’Sullivan suggesting the figure was just 0.8% of its €357 million profit in the first half of the year.
Alan Farrell, TD, said it was a “drop in the ocean” compared with what they are making.
Mr Fenlon said the company would review the fund in light of the comments.
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