ESB Cut Prices, But Not For Those Who Need It


ESB today announced a range of price changes that could decrease the average billpayer's costs by up to 17% for electricity per unit and 6% for gas per unit.. However, this will only apply to customers in good standing, i.e. not to the 100,000-plus ESB customers who are having difficulty paying their bills.

According to ESB Electric Ireland General Manager, Liam Molloy, "We are very aware of the financial pressure on customers in the current environment. In developing our new electricity and gas price plans we are determined to provide customers with the best choice, value and products in the Irish energy market." It seems that the only customers that he cares about are the ones that he can make money from, not the customers who are falling behind in their payments to an essential service that is needed for a decent quality of life in this country.

Likewise, many of the reductions are tied to conditions such as online billing , set payments and direct debit, conditions that people on low-incomes find very difficlut to keep to. As I'm sure many of you know, conditions such as these make it hard to "juggle" all the multiple costs of living in the optimum way for you to make it through the month.

A spokesperson for the company stated regarding customers falling behind in their bills that “If they get themselves in good standing then we will look at that situation but there is a basic requirement that your account is in good order,”. So those who can least afford to pay, remain at the same difficult level, while those who can afford to pay more, pay less? That makes as much logic as capitalism does.

In the meantime, there is still contention between ESB and the workers of the company, as ESB tries to follow through on it's plan to cut it's pay bill by up to 20%, a target and intention firmly rejected by the workers of the company.

All of this comes on the first day of the fully deregulated domestic energy market, where ESB finds itself in competition with other electricity and gas suppliers such as Airtricity and Bord Gáis. We can see the results of "deregulation", the agenda of "competitiveness" which only hurts the people who can least afford to be hurt, the less well-off in society. The idea behind competition is that all of the respective companies in an industry will cut costs and become more "efficient" in the race to gain customers, in order to get the maximum benfit for the consumer. While there are price-cuts, these come hand-in-hand with worse wages for the workers, less environmental protection and no safety-nets for those who can't pay.

Competiton? I want none of it. Do we live in an economy, or a society?


  • Author: JW