To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will explain the differentiation in lower urban and higher rural standing and usage charges applied by Electric Ireland to its customers; and if this price gap will be reduced in favour of rural consumers if and when the existing transmission infrastructure is upgraded.
Reply from Minister Rabbitte: I have no function in this matter. Responsibility for the regulation of the electricity market is a matter for the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) which is an independent regulator.
The CER was assigned responsibility for the regulation of the Irish electricity sector following the enactment of the Electricity Regulation Act, 1999 and subsequent legislation. Since April 2011 prices in the electricity market have been deregulated and business and domestic customers can as a result avail of competitive offerings from a number of supply companies. It is a function of the CER to regulate the electricity market.
Questions regarding the pricing practices of electricity supply companies should be directed towards the relevant companies or addressed to the CER.
I have no statutory function in the matter of the regulation of electricity prices.
Dáil Éireann allocates a certain amount of time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during which Deputies may ask questions of Members of the Government relating to Public Affairs connected with their Departments, or on matters of administration for whch they are officially responsible. The Taoiseach answers questions on his own Department on Tuesdays/Wednesdays.