‘All avenues’ being explored to help with cost-of-living as ESRI asked to look at energy price caps

The Government previously rejected the idea of energy price caps fearing it could amount to a ‘blank cheque’ for energy providers

Simon Coveney says the Government is 'open to doing more' for energy customers. Photograph: EPA

“All avenues” are being explored by the Government to help people through the cost-of-living crisis, Minister for Enterprise Simon Coveney has said.

His comments came in response to a report that the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has been asked to look at a form of caps on energy bills similar to those introduced in Germany.

The Government previously rejected the idea of energy price caps amid concern the State could face uncertain bills if prices continued to rise.

Direct financial supports for households – including energy credits totalling €600 – were introduced instead.


A Sinn Féin proposal to cap energy prices at pre-crisis levels was attacked by the Coalition and likened to the bank guarantee and the price caps introduced in the UK by Liz Truss during her brief period in office.

The Business Post reported on Sunday that the ESRI has been asked to model possible price guarantees that would see prices based on the average energy usage by households and some businesses.

Under such a scheme the State would cover the difference between the average usage and the market price of energy.

During an appearance on RTÉ's The Week in Politics, Mr Coveney, was asked if he would support such a policy.

He replied: “I’d certainly be open to doing more if we need to.”

Mr Coveney said: “We have put €6 billion aside in a reserve fund to help families and to help businesses through next year if and when we need to do that.

“We need to look at what is the sensible and most impactful way to help people with their bills, to put money back in people’s pockets when they need it,” he said, adding that goes for businesses as well as homes.

Mr Coveney said: “We have the resources to do that next year and we will of course explore all the avenues so that we spend money in as effective a way as possible to help people through the cost-of-living crisis.”

Sinn Féin enterprise spokeswoman TD Louise O’Reilly said there is no stability for people struggling to heat their homes in a cost of living crisis and they should be given certainty about the cost of energy.

She added: “This is a Sinn Féin proposal ... and I’m glad to see that the Government are now starting to move on it.”

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times