Electricity and market forces

Heat and light

Sir, – There is a good reason for competition in electricity generation. Competition encourages efficiency of production and competitive pricing. What is the justification for having competition in retail electricity sale? Once the wholesale price of electricity is set by the market operator, it is then delivered to the retail customer and metered by ESB Networks, which is a natural monopoly. None of the retail suppliers take any part in this process. Why then do they exist? ESB Networks could bill the retail customer at a rate giving sufficient margin to maintain its service and making no profit. Natural monopolies should be essentially state agencies and not profit-making entities.

The only thing the retail suppliers do is bamboozle the customer with myriad price plans and transient introductory offers while making obscene profits.

The place for competition and profit is in generation not in retail. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – I think that the increase in the standing charge for electricity is extremely disingenuous. As customers we should refuse to pay this aspect of our bills. The money collected has not been spent as intended. Had it been correctly invested, we would not be facing energy cuts which may be inflicted on us due to the lack of electric generating capacity. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – In June of this year, ESB Networks installed smart meters in our apartment complex. My electricity provider cannot offer me a smart tariff, as the meter uses a 2G connection for communication, so it is practically useless. I still receive estimated bills.

I plan to use the savings from my smart meter to buy an ashtray for my motorbike. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 14.

Sir, – Will Mary Shelley’s Dr Frankenstein now feel obliged to engage in a bit of virtue signalling by carrying out his experiments during off-peak hours in order to reduce his laboratory’s monster electricity bills, or will he be reluctant to forsake any of his current creature comforts? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.