24 November 2008

Irish Customers are fleeced by the ESB to finance new Power Plants in Britain

The Electricity Supply Board (ESB), the Republic of Ireland's largest producer and supplier of electricity, is "planning to expand its operations in the British energy market significantly, with a € 4 billion investment drive to build new power plants in the UK".

ESBI, the ESB's international arm, has "acquired an interest in a number of British power companies" and plans to build "over 3000 megawatts of gas-fired and renewable energy plants before the year 2020".

ESBI currently has operations and projects in more than 35 countries including the UK, and the ESB says this initiative will rank them "in the top ten energy companies in the British electricity market".

"The investment opportunity comes because of a projected shortfall in generating capacity in Britain over the next few years", an ESB statement says.
"ESB will build and operate a gas-fired power station near Manchester, which will generate electricity for 1 million homes by 2013, while another gas-fired station near Southampton will be operational by this time next year. ESB's plans in Britain also include wind-power projects."

I don't know about you, but I was very surprised - and almost stunned - when I read this. The ESB is an Irish company, originally established in the 1920s by the government to produce and provide the energy needed for this country, its development and industrialisation.

Until recently it has been a state company, concentrated on the needs of Ireland and our population and industry. That is how it should be.
Then - following the general trend in capitalist countries - Fianna Fáil part-privatised the ESB. Since then we have experienced several significant changes in their work and relationship with customers.

1) Prices for electricity in Ireland went up several times, without real need and explanations.

2) ESB closed its nation-wide network of shops, thus cutting off the normal way for a customer to contact the company and interact with it.

3) Most of the former shops' premises were sold to a large UK bank, at the height of the Irish property boom, for a massive profit.

4) So-called 'customer relations' are now reduced to contacts by telephone only. If a customer is lucky and skilled enough to get through the system of automated messages and electronic barriers, designed to minimise the number of calls, he is connected to a 'call centre', where predominantly young and very clueless 'operators' are trying to tell him that everything is in order, even if it is not.

5) Letters of complaint written to the ESB, even those addressed to senior management, are never answered.

6) ESB, now a commercial company and no longer a national service provider, is engaging more and more in other countries, while neglecting the Irish market.

7) Nevertheless it is predominantly the money created in Ireland that finances these foreign operations.

I did not know before that the ESB is now active in 35 foreign countries. And I did not know that all the money extracted from Irish customers at exorbitant rates is now going into the financing of the electricity supply of other countries. Did you?

As things stand, Ireland has one of the highest energy prices in the world, with ESB being at the top of the league table.
Whenever we are hit by another price hike for electricity - a utility which is now needed by everyone, so we have not really any choice - the ESB tells us that it is "because of the rising prices of oil, gas and coal on the international markets".

That is a lie. In fact the most barefaced and outrageous lie we have been given by an Irish company for a long time.
And it is about time to stand up to these liars and scoundrels and tell then what we think of them!

Fleecing the Irish public ever more drastically, in order to spend € 4 billion on new power stations in the UK - for the supply of British customers and the benefit of international share holders - is not acceptable in general, and especially not now, in a time of economic recession and financial crisis.
Not to mention the other 34 foreign countries, which have not been named. (I am trying to obtain a list, and if I get it, I will share the information with you here.)

We should not take this quietly, and begin to voice our protest.

Write letters to the chairman and CEO of the ESB!

Write to your TDs and to newspapers!

Talk with your TDs when you see them, and express your anger and disgust.

And use any other form of communication as well, to make your family, friends and neighbours aware of this scandal. They might not have heard of it yet.

The ESB was created by the Irish government, using taxpayers' money, to work for the Irish nation and provide us with enough electricity at affordable prices. Its purpose does not include to fill the gap in the energy market of our former colonial rulers, whose failure to plan properly for their own needs created a shortage of energy in Britain in the first place.

At a time when every single Euro and cent make a difference, we - the Irish nation - should not be robbed of € 4 billion, which then leave the country to help those who oppressed us for 750 years. No, I say, and once again - NO!!!

If you care for your country and the money in your pocket, then follow my example and make yourself heard. There is still time to stop the ESB from this blunder, but every day counts.

Éirinn go Brágh!

The Emerald Islander

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a scandal! In business people have a choice now, who they get their electricity from. But private customers are still forced to use ESB.
And with all the money they're ripping off from us they now want to build power stations in England. Unbelievable!

This country really sucks, and in every possible way. I think it's time to check the sailing times of the emigrant boats again...

THE EMERALD ISLANDER said...

Thanks for your comment. I can understand how you feel, thinking of emigration.
But with all respect, that is part of the Irish problem. In the past people just left the country when things were bad and there were not enough good jobs available.

The result is that a lot of the brightest and best people were lost to the country, many of them never to return. So those who remained gained a grip on Ireland, and they established a cosy system that suits the top cats, but screws everybody else.

What we need now is people who stay here, but have the guts and courage to stand up against the system. Otherwise things will get a lot worse.

So think again, and if at all possible stay and fight with us.

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