Utilities regulator paid €202,000 in bonuses to staff last year

Commission for Regulation of Utilities reduced its deficit to €1.09m as revenues increased by 6% to €15.9m

Irish Water is regulated by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities. Photograph: Frank Miller

Irish Water is regulated by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

Ireland’s independent energy and water regulator paid €202,638 in bonuses to staff in 2017 as its deficit reduced by 15 per cent to €1.09 million.

The latest annual report for the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), details the bonus payments to staff, which were down on the €238,885 paid out in 2016.

The report says the commission’s performance-related remuneration scheme is approved by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

Over the past nine years the CRU has paid out €2.3 million in such bonuses to staff. The performance-related pay model was introduced when the regulator was established in 1999 and does not apply to senior management. Instead it is reserved for lower grades and has strict criteria and is not guaranteed.

The CRU reduced its deficit to €1.09 million as revenues increased by 6 per cent to €15.9 million.

The CRU is responsible for setting prices for a range of utility companies, including Irish Water.

The report shows that the CRU incurred €1.02 million costs in relation to judicial review litigation concerning the regulator’s activities in the electricity market.

Numbers employed by the utility regulator increased from 90 to 96 in 2017, and staff costs increased from €6.36 million to €6.92 million.

Staff members

Eight staff members earned more than €100,000, with chairman Paul McGowan receiving €171,000. Mr McGowan was appointed to the role in February 2017.

Commissioner Garrett Blaney received €152,000, while commissioner Aoife MacEvilly was paid €142,000. Key management personnel, including the commissioners, shared pay of €1 million in 2017.

The CRU generated the bulk of its revenues at €9.6 million from its activities in the electricity sector, with water generating another €1.89 million.

The CRU’s costs are not paid for directly by the taxpayer, but are funded by a levy on “industry participants”, says the report.