Wednesday, 11 May 2022
Ceisteanna - Questions
Like Deputy Cowen, I wish to raise the issue of the rising cost of energy. Due to inflation and an over-reliance on fossil fuels the cost of energy has skyrocketed. The rising cost of energy for households has been well documented and we have introduced measures. However, what has been less documented is the rising cost of energy for businesses, particularly small businesses. I have the example of a bill that a small business owner, a hotelier, showed to me. One part of the bill was an energy market adjustment charge of €5,000 extra due to the cost of energy. A well-known restaurateur showed me a bill that increased by over 250%. Urgent intervention is needed. It could either be through a financial support, and we have been good with financial support for businesses, or, second, and this is one that is an easy win, through the support scheme for energy audits, which makes €2,000 available to businesses that have a spend on energy of over €10,000. Many microbusinesses in small towns do not have that spend. Now, however, they are being pushed up towards it with the rising cost of energy but they cannot qualify for it. We should bring microbusinesses into that scheme as well.