Cabinet approves plan for €100 credit towards electricity bills

Plan to credit every domestic electricity account-holder will cost €210m in total

Every domestic electricity account-holder in the country will receive a €100 credit towards electricity bills under plans approved by Cabinet on Tuesday.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan brought a memo to Cabinet outlining plans for the electricity credit, which will cost €210 million in total.

The €100 credit will apply to all domestic customers and will go through ESB Networks to suppliers and then on to customers. It will apply to all households regardless of income.

The proposal will require new legislation which the Government is hoping to quickly progress through the Oireachtas in order to provide the credits to households from early in the new year.

Opposition parties have welcomed the plans, although they have also criticised the Government for not moving quickly enough in the face of spiralling energy costs.

Rising prices of natural gas, used to generate more than half of the Republic’s electricity, combined with low wind speeds and temporary power plant shutdowns drove up electricity costs in the State this year.

Most energy suppliers have announced multiple price hikes since April this year, when world energy costs began rising as countries emerged from Covid lockdowns.

Rail improvements

Separately, Mr Ryan also sought approval for a €95 million package for a five-year project for rail line improvements.

Much of the funding will be to reduce journey times on the Cork line and to “future proof” for higher speeds.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue also sought approval from Cabinet colleagues to pledge supports to the World Food Programme.

The Government, under the Department of Agriculture, is to pledge €75 million to the programme.

The UN body is charged with the delivery of food assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.

The programme assists 115.5 million people in 84 countries through food or cash distributions in emergencies and nutrition support programmes.

The programme uses 5,600 trucks, 30 ships and 100 planes on any day.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett was also to bring plans to Cabinet to increase levels of native tree planting.

The junior minister will outline her plans to amend the Forestry Act, 2014, to allow for the planting of up to one hectare of either native woodland or riparian margins, without the need for a licence.

The recently published Climate Action Plan aims to afforest 8,000 hectares annually to 2030.