Deputy Carol Nolan.

'Where did that €3 billion go?' demands Nolan

Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan has called on Environment Minister Eamon Ryan to investigate why the nation is facing the prospect of energy blackouts - despite €3 billion having been generated over the last decade from the Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy.

Deputy Nolan was speaking after the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) confirmed to her that the PSO levy raised €393 million from the public’s electricity bills from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021. This represented an increase of €217 million for the same period in 2019-2020 (€176m).

The PSO levy is charged to all electricity customers in Ireland. Mandated by the Irish Government and approved by the European Commission, it has the purpose of supporting the generation of electricity from sustainable, renewable and indigenous sources.

It is calculated and certified annually by the CRU and all energy suppliers are required to collect this levy from customers through bills.

Deputy Nolan has demanded that the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Deputy Ryan, investigate this issue alongside the CRU.

“Serious questions now have to be asked about the effective use of the PSO levy, particularly as we face into a winter of threatened blackouts and severely reduced energy availability,” said Deputy Nolan.

“Where on earth did that €3 billion generated since 2011 go?

"What has it actually done to support the provision of stable sources of energy and power that is capable of keeping the lights and the heating going in people’s homes? Not a lot seems to be the answer," she continued.

"As I understand it the new PSO levy equates to €51.60 excluding VAT or €58.57 per year inclusive of VAT for every single home in the country.

"Yet at the same time, those households which are yielding hundreds of million in levied tax remain under the threat of having no lights or heating. This is simply disgraceful.

"What is even more alarming is that there are now clear signs that the CRU will set the levy an even higher rate for the years ahead. And all for what? To ‘support’ the generation of renewable electricity that is already demonstrating a lack of capacity to provide energy security?” concluded Deputy Nolan.