[Sinn Fein]

6th September 2002

Sinn Fein TD asks if ESB price hike is part of government's privatisation agenda

Sinn Fein Sinn Fein spokesperson on Communications and Transport, Seán Crowe TD, has described the 13% hike in Electricity charges by the ESB as regrettable and excessive in the current climate of spiralling increases in prices across a range of goods and services in the last six to 12 months. The Dublin South West deputy demanded to know of the Minister responsible if these increases were a case of "fattening the pig" before moving to privatise the semi-state company and also questioned what effect this would have on rising inflation.

Deputy Crowe said:

"Coming at a time when the prices for many goods and services are spiralling upwards it is regrettable that the ESB is also seeking an excessive price increase at this time.

"Sinn Fein recognises the valuable contribution the ESB has made to Irish life and is determined that it's future as a state owned company should be protected. However I would have major concerns that the 13% increase for domestic users is more about 'fattening the pig for market' rather than staving off any perceived threat to it's economic viability. The ESB is a very successful national and international company. The ordinary consumer must not be made pay for the Governments privatisation agenda. These price increases have to be justified in the context of providing a modern and efficient service to the people and the effects they may have on rising inflation." ENDS

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