IFA National Dairy Chair Stephen Arthur said farmers cannot be penalised by any peak electricity charges proposed by the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
“Dairy farmers don’t have the luxury of picking the time of day they milk their cows. On the vast majority of dairy farms, cows are milked morning and evening, seven days a week. Trying to milk cows and cool milk outside of the peak hours of 5pm to 7pm is just not feasible.”
The CRU proposes that customers on ‘smart tariffs’ will see higher electricity costs during the peak hours of 5pm to 7pm.
“These proposals work on the assumption that electricity customers can manage their usage during the 5pm to 7pm period. Farmers, and especially dairy farmers, simply cannot do that. If imposed on farmers, these higher electricity costs would drive the cost of food production even higher at a time when farmers are already grappling with cost increases of over 40% in the past year. Farmers are not able to bear any further cost increases,” concluded Mr Arthur.