Ibec research reveals full scale of Irelands energy affordability crisis
Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today calls on Government to strengthen business supports after new research shows the full scale of Ireland’s energy affordability crisis. The survey of Ibec members shows that average gas and electricity prices increased by 90% and 60% respectively in 2022 with further increases expected next year.
Speaking about the findings, Ibec’s Senior Executive for Infrastructure, Energy and Climate Policy Conor Minogue said: “Energy costs increased for all sectors in 2022 eroding profitability and threatening business viability. The research also shows that business exposure to high energy costs will continue into 2023 as more and more businesses exit contracts and lose pre-crisis hedging arrangements. Businesses are forecasting gas prices to be three times higher in 2023 than last year and electricity costs 2.5 times higher. While wholesale gas prices have fallen from the exceptional heights we saw in August, the market remains volatile and prices still remain well above normal levels.
Commenting on the need to strengthen business supports he said: “It is vital that the support framework reflects the scale of the crisis and delivers effective support to viable but vulnerable businesses. While the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS) and Ukraine Enterprise Crisis Scheme (UECS) announced in Budget 2023 are providing welcome support to many businesses, the eligibility criteria and support levels remain too restrictive. Our research shows that of the 39% of companies reporting at least a doubling of their electricity or gas costs in 2022, only one quarter of these could qualify for the UECS scheme in its current design. The support levels are also below that seen in other European countries, putting Irish businesses at a competitive disadvantage. Ibec has already submitted recommendations to Government on how the support schemes could be made more effective.