Regulators’ plan to cut electricity demand by hitting big business with 70 million euros in extra fees will hurt the Republic’s ability to attract job-creating investment, multinationals warn.
The Utilities Regulatory Commission (CRU) is proposing to charge data centers and large manufacturers an additional €70m for using the power grid at peak times from next month as part of a plan fight against the energy crisis of the Republic.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland, which represents 900 American companies employing 190,000 people, warns that penalizing these companies for their energy consumption “can damage Ireland’s reputation as a destination of choice for foreign investment. “.
In response to the CRU’s call for consultation on the proposals, the chamber says some of the proposed additional charges will only be levied on so-called “large energy users”, a group of 22 mainly multinational employers.
“Based on this, these tariffs do not appear non-discriminatory,” the organization says, noting that EU rules require energy charges to be transparent, non-discriminatory and reflect real costs.
Electricity is already expensive here, with the US chamber calculating that some members’ energy bills have tripled so far this year.
“Measures that cause Ireland to become increasingly less cost competitive could result in the diversion of future inward investment to competing jurisdictions where energy costs are lower,” the report said.
The organization specifies that many companies have little or no prospect of cutting electricity between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., the peak hours that the CRU puts forward.
“It will therefore be impossible for these facilities to avoid the network’s peak tariff proposal, should it be implemented,” the lobby group explains.
Therefore, the proposal penalizes organizations that cannot simply reduce their demand for electricity during peak hours.
The CRU hopes to discourage companies from “scaling up” their electricity demand in the short term, easing the growing pressure on the state’s energy system.
However, the US chamber maintains that its members are only stepping up their activities for compelling reasons.
“This can range from providing essential commodities in response to the pandemic, to intervening when other sites in essential global supply chains are down,” it says, noting that it shouldn’t result in any tariff penalties.
The ramp-up could be due to the expansion of existing factories or the construction of new ones, which means significant investment and job creation, which meets government objectives and therefore should not attract tariffs, depending on the organization.
Additional charges aimed specifically at larger consumers involve little notice or flexibility, its document says.
“It can be said, and the CRU document implicitly recognizes this, that these tariffs are designed in a way that will be impossible to avoid for certain large manufacturing operations”, adds the chamber.
These include a ‘decarbonisation tariff’ which the CRU intends to impose on very large energy consumers for the electricity they use during periods of low wind speed, so that there is has little renewable energy available.
They also involve ‘system alert tariffs’, which large companies will pay for electricity use during times when national grid operator EirGrid has issued warnings that reserves are below ideal. .
EirGrid chief executive Mark Foley told TDs and senators this week that the company plans to issue such alerts regularly through the winter.
The CRU hopes to raise 100 million euros in additional network charges over the 12 months from October 1, 30 million euros from all electricity customers and 70 million euros from very large electricity consumers. ‘energy.
The American chamber wants the CRU to modify its proposal to apply the charges only to companies that can modify their electricity consumption. The SRB does not comment while consultations are ongoing. The committee reviews all responses and takes them into account when making a final decision.