"We're going to need to do more" - Government to consider time of day pricing as way to ease energy crisis
It comes as the much-anticipated €200 electricity credit will appear on people's bills from next week.
Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan has said the Government is to consider "time of day pricing" as a way to ease the current energy crisis.
This is a system whereby electricity costs are lower at certain times in the day during which there is less demand.
The Minister made the comments on Thursday as part of Leaders' Questions in the Dáil, where he confirmed that the much-anticipated €200 electricity credit will appear on people's bills from next week.
However, Ryan added that the Government is "going to need to do more" to combat the rising cost of energy.
Leaders' Questions kicked off with Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty highlighting how a number of energy providers in recent weeks have announced a hike in their prices.
"The only announcements that we're hearing in relation to energy prices are from the providers hiking up, hiking up and hiking up the prices," Doherty said.
"We hear nothing from you as Minister with the responsibility for energy, no measures from you that would see a reduction for workers and families in relation to their bills.
"Without action, Minister, low and middle incomes are faced to bear the brunt of these price hikes and they simply cannot afford it."
In response, Ryan said that since early last year, when the Russian Government started to turn off the gas supply to Europe, the Government has responded to rising prices, citing increases in social welfare in last year's budget.
"We, like you, can see this as an existential crisis for the people in our country, in our homes," he said.
"We didn't stop there... Next week, our €200 credit on people's bills will come in.
"It won't cover the cost increase. It'll only help cushion the blow but it was important that we got that ready and had it in place so that this week, next week, it will be seen in people's bills.
"But also then going further - reducing excise rates... introducing a new 80% grant for people to actually insulate their homes... reducing public transport for those under 24 by 50%, reducing by 20% the general fares for everyone else."
However, Ryan added that the Government is going to have to introduce a "whole variety of additional measures" as what it has done to date is "not going to be enough".
"I would not rule anything out and would welcome ideas or suggestions," he explained.
"I'd look at proposals that particularly would help those most vulnerable.
"But further measures, I think, should be looking at the market mechanisms, looking at further efficiency measures and not just looking at Government always signing every cheque.
"Are there ways we can change the market?
"One that could be really effective is to give time of day pricing - make the mandate or you'd have to opt-out from it - as a way of people being able to save further through the pricing mechanism.
"It's just one example. We will come forward in the coming weeks with a number of other measures such as that to try and help address this real crisis we have."