Cowen to inform EU commissioner of BSE price manipulation allegations
Fianna Fáil TD and former agriculture minister Barry Cowen will travel to Strasbourg on Tuesday to meet the EU’s energy commissioner to discuss his allegations of BSE price manipulation.
Mr Cowen has been highly critical of the utility in recent months and accused it of abusing its monopoly position to penalize consumers.
He said under Dáil privilege that the company’s wholesale prices added 250 million euros to customers’ electricity bills between July and September last year.
“I am traveling to meet Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson following my complaint earlier this year about the wholesale energy market in Ireland and how it is being manipulated by ESB and not taken to task by the regulator, which leads to consumer prices even beyond international price pressure,” he told the
“I have an important meeting with the European Commissioner for Energy in Strasbourg this week. The price of electricity in Ireland is ahead of international trends. The market is a monopoly. It is time for change,” said he declared.
According to its communication to the Commission, seen by theMr. Cowen says that due to limited competition in a small market operated by dominant producer groups in the market, consumers are being forced to pay higher prices for their energy.
Mr Cowen’s submission says that when renewable energy generation on the island of Ireland is low and demand is high, he and others have noticed exceptionally high bid prices from some producers, especially over the last 12 months. The prices offered are often several times higher than the levels justified by the costs of the inputs.
He said BSE was “visibly prominent in this behavior last year, but we know others are now also behaving in the same way”.
The state-owned company has firmly rejected allegations that it took advantage of last year’s power shortage and maintained cash support offers to build deliberately low power plants to deter potential rivals from entering. in the Irish market.
The BSE wrote to the Offaly-based TD earlier this year saying it should hand over documents to regulators to back up its claims.
Mr Cowen said he passed the information to the Utilities Regulatory Commission (CRU) some time ago. “I have already raised issues with the regulator which I believe need to be investigated by the authorities who are there to do so,” he said.
The ESB published a series of articles in January which it said provided evidence refuting the allegations made against it by Mr Cowen.