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04 Oct 2022

Dundalk business sees electricity bill go from €3,674 to €9,000 as prices soar

Dundalk business sees electricity bill go from €3,674 to €9,000 as prices soar

Local politicians have called for greater supports for Louth businesses hit by spiralling energy costs, with some recording that their bills have trebled in recent months.

Speaking in the Dail last week, Louth Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd said he knows of a food hall in Dundalk which is 38 years in business and whose bill has gone from €3,674 to €9,000 per month, while another local company has seen their electricity bill soar from €10,000 to €25,000 per month.

“It is unsustainable and they will not be able to meet the increasing cost,” Deputy O'Dowd said.

“They are looking at reducing workers’ hours, lay-offs, increases in prices, closing temporarily and, in the case of manufacture, possibly moving to another jurisdiction.”

Also speaking in the Dail, Sinn Fein’s Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú raised the case of local chemical tank business Suretank, which has premises in Castlebellingham and Dunleer, and has seen their electricity bill rise by €15,000 per month to €50,500, and gas going from €3,200 per month to €18,000 per month.

“It is saying this will mean all its profits are gone and it will be out of action in a number of months,” he said.

“We could be facing economic carnage. We have all heard from the owners of small businesses and industries.”

“We need to deal with the cost of energy at both a domestic and international level, where we can do so, but we will also have to look at grant schemes.

“Anglo Printers in Drogheda is looking at its electricity bill going from €160,000 per year to half a million euro, which is an approximate cost of €10,000 per worker.

“As I said, it is absolute carnage. We need to act as quickly as possible, as was done during the Covid period to keep the ship afloat,” he said.

Addressing Taniste Leo Varadkar, Deputy O’Dowd also called for the government to implement more measures to ease the burden on businesses.

“I believe that all and every opportunity must be grasped in regard to all other possible supports, like reducing other taxes that may be on these companies and subsidising wages if there is a proven bill and there is now an excess on that.

“There might be other ways of finding supports for companies other than what is happening right now. It is unsustainable for these businesses.

“We are inundated with calls,” he said.

Across Leinster House in the Seanad, Louth Senator Erin McGreehan proposed a motion on tackling fuel poverty and raging energy costs for households and businesses.

“We must ensure that people are supported and protected in the face of rising cost of living, protect those most vulnerable in society and that Budget 2023 must be a cost of living budget which should contribute to helping every household and business in the country,” she said.

Senator McGreehan proposed a new assistance payment for households on a short term basis saying “there needs to be more done to support struggling working families who do not qualify for fuel allowance.”

In response to the Louth TDs, the Tanaiste said the government was working on a number of schemes they think will help businesses.

These include a low-cost, low-interest loan, similar to what was in place for Brexit and the Covid pandemic.

The second is a grant scheme that will be targeted at manufacturers and exporters with high energy bills.
“In addition to that, we need a broader measure that will help SMEs, particularly in hospitality and retail, which are facing very high costs,” he said.

“It is going to be a real challenge. I have seen some extreme examples of bills going up when people have come off contracts or they are with a discount supplier.

“It is typical now to see bills trebling; not doubling, but trebling. That is quite typical and it is a huge increase in electricity and gas bills for businesses.

“I would love to be able to say the Government is going to be in a position to pay those bills or pay two thirds of those bills indefinitely, but I cannot say that and I cannot promise that.

“What I can say is that we will help and it will be a significant and meaningful intervention.

“We hope to have that in place for budget day.”

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