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Minister Ryan welcomes publication of the Electricity Costs (Emergency Measures) Domestic Accounts Bill 2023

Minister Ryan welcomes publication of the Electricity Costs (Emergency Measures) Domestic Accounts Bill 2023

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, has today welcomed the Government decision to publish the text of the Electricity Costs (Emergency Measures) Domestic Accounts Bill 2023. This Bill will now progress through both Houses of the Oireachtas and, once enacted, will ensure that three payments of €150 (including VAT) will be made to over 2.2 million (domestic) electricity accounts between December 2023 and April 2024.

The credit will be applied automatically. Households do not need to apply for it, nor do they need to contact their electricity supplier.

The first credit will be applied on 1 December 2023, and will appear on household bills during the following two-month period (that is, December or January). The exact date will depend on an individual household’s billing cycles. The second credit will be applied on 1 January 2024. The third will be applied on 1 March 2024.

As per earlier schemes, credits are applied to a Meter Point Registration Number (MPRN). However, there are two significant changes proposed this year to help ensure that the credits get to the right households, in so far as possible.

Previously, household accommodation whose electricity was supplied through 'sub-meters' were not eligible to get the credit. This situation occurs where an existing dwelling has been divided for the purposes of accommodating additional people and an independent meter has been provided for this accommodation, and the sub-meter is still connected to the main MPRN. To address this, the Department will establish a Submeter Support Scheme, working directly with electricity suppliers to ensure that 'sub-meter' households receive the same support as households with a dedicated MPRN.

In another change from previous Electricity Credit schemes, a provision has been included to identify houses that are vacant or empty, with extremely low or no electricity usage. Working with ESB Networks, properties with a very low level of electricity usage over four consecutive quarters will be identified as not needing the credits. The thresholds, for very low electricity usage, will take account of the use of basic appliances – to ensure that anyone using a fridge, cooker or typical lighting, for example, will still receive the payment.

Importantly, any account that is registered as a vulnerable customer, has a hardship meter installed or has low usage due to microgeneration will not have their payment withheld.

If an Electricity Credit is withheld in error, and the customer is on or is entitled to be on the vulnerable customer register of has a hardship meter, they can contact their suppler in the first instance, who will review the decision to ensure that credits are applied as quickly as possible. This will be a simple and swift process.

Speaking today, Minister Ryan said:

"The government is acutely aware of the continued pressure faced by households in relation to energy costs. While recent price reductions announced by suppliers are welcome, energy prices are still higher than they were in 2020 for a variety of reasons. That is why, as part of the government’s package of measures in Budget 2024, we announced this package of three electricity credits which will go directly to over 2.2 million households across the country. This year, we are also doing everything we can to ensure that the credits get to the people who need them.

"It is vitally important that people stay warm and well this winter. People should not go without heat or light. We are urging people to stay engaged with their energy supply companies and to know that there are supports available if you are facing difficulties paying your bills."

The scheme is considerable in its scope. The Department, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), ESB Networks and electricity suppliers have made a concerted effort to prioritise the delivery of this important support measure. The primary legislation needed to establish the scheme, and to enable the credit to be made as soon as possible, will work through both Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming weeks.


Notes to the Editor

Using the unique Meter Point Registration Number (MPRN), the payment will be credited to all domestic electricity accounts, including pay-as-you-go customers.

The scheme is being rolled out in this way to ensure that it benefits as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. Consumers will not need to apply for this. The credit will be automatic.

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has oversight of the scheme. The scheme is being operated by the Distribution System Operator (ESB Networks) and electricity suppliers. ESB Networks will pass the funds to the energy suppliers. In turn, the energy suppliers will credit the domestic electricity accounts.

A credit line item will appear on bills in the amount of €137.61 (€150 excluding VAT) with the identifier 'Government Electricity Credit' or an abbreviated version of this.