People Before Profit has condemned plans to fine electricity consumers who refuse to accept new smart electricity meters.

These proposals have been drawn up by the Commission on Energy Regulation. The meter installation programme is part of a strategy to charge more for electricity usage during peak hours and less for off peak hours.

Gino Kenny, a People Before Profit councillor and candidate in the Dublin Mid West constituency said:

‘The cost of meter installation will be €750 million and that will be loaded onto ESB consumers in a ‘distribution charge’ over the next five years. This is totally unacceptable.

‘If the smart metering programme led to a genuine reduction in spending on electricity, many people would volunteer to have one installed.

‘But the CER are making smart meters compulsory and invoking powers to fine people.

‘That new ‘distribution charge’ comes on top of a charge of €64 ‘Public Service Obligation Levy’ a year which is used to subsidise private companies.

Tynagh Energy and Aughinish Alumina, for example, benefit from this PSO levy as well as a host of private firms engaged in wind-farms.

‘People have had enough of water charges and other indirect taxes. We are not likely to accept yet another mandatory charge for electricity’.