Christmas lights may need to be dimmed this winter as local governments look for ways to cut electricity bills.
Energy Minister Eamon Ryan said he would not advocate limiting festive displays, but stressed that city and county councils need to reassess all energy use.
“I think local governments are starting to look at it. They’re starting to look at all sorts of measures, but we haven’t stipulated to that level yet,” he said.
Ryan, Taoiseach and Tánaiste are meeting today to discuss the energy crisis and possible measures to mitigate its impact.
They are expected to agree with proposals to pursue energy savings in public sector buildings through temperature limits in heating systems and integration of floors and offices.
“We have to start with the example of the public sector,” Ryan said.
Schools, libraries and other important public facilities will be protected, he said.
Schools need to manage their utility bills better, but they don’t have to save on heating bills.
He said the Covid experience has shown how important it is for children to be in school, and he doesn’t want to create difficulties in that regard.
He said institutions like libraries can provide a very important service this winter, providing people with a warm and social space during difficult times.
“Keeping the library warm and busy during the difficult winter is exactly what we should be doing.”
The three party leaders will also discuss the introduction of various aids to support energy bills for homes and businesses, as well as proposals from the European Commission on price caps for certain energy producers.
The proposal would be similar to a contingent tax on excess profits enjoyed by companies profiting from rising gas prices, but would target electricity suppliers that do not rely on burning gas to generate electricity. and
Primarily wind power companies benefit the most because they don’t have to buy expensive gas, but they can sell their power at very high prices as other markets dictate.
The government is reluctant to impose a windfall tax, mainly because it will cost wind energy companies, which the country relies on to invest billions in offshore turbines.
Ryan said he expected the government to support the committee’s proposal.
“It is a mechanism that I think could, should and will work. I think it could work well with.”
However, he warned that no matter what measures the government takes, homes and businesses will still have a very difficult time this winter.
He urged people to be as energy efficient as possible and follow the tips of the government’s “Reduce Your Use” campaign.
But he said people must too Watch their comfort.
“A very important message to send to families is to stay warm, but be smart about how you do it in a lean way.”