The government can no longer ‘shield people from the price of energy’, says the chief minister.

Alfred Cannan was responding to a question posed to him in the House of Keys this week about the recent electricity price hike.

He explained that the Council of Ministers is ‘well aware’ of the cost of living crisis and the impact on families and businesses.

Mr Cannan said that after it froze prices last year, it could only ‘carry on with that type of policy’ for so long.

Manx Utilities has incurred a ‘significant loss’ over the last 12 months.

‘The Council of Ministers has decided whether we can continue subventing the cost,’ Mr Cannan said. ‘We are determined to support the board in bringing forward these price increases.’

The Chief Minister isn’t aware of any future price rises.

He added the government has to deal with problems ‘here and now rather than affecting future generations’.

A number of questions were tabled on the topic.

When asked what economic impact assessment has been undertaken, Treasury Minister Alex Allinson said there has been assessment of the inflationary situation, looking at the economic impact for domestic users and businesses.

The government will ‘continue to look at this’.

Douglas North MHK David Ashford wanted to know what physical impact has been assessed. He said people will cut back on their domestic spending if they’re struggling which will affect the economy.

Dr Allinson urged people to look at the cost of living support website, contact the advice line or find out about the energy efficiency scheme.

Manx Utilities Authority chair Tim Johnston also explained that the board meets monthly to discuss tariffs.

‘We will monitor our costs and the impact on our customers,’ Mr Johnston said.

He added: ‘If we did see dramatic changes then they have to be reflected in tariffs.

‘It is a very volatile market and we will need to see some trend. We can’t just react to small changes either way.’

After Garff MHK Daphne Caine turned the discussion to the impact of the price rises on people with electric vehicles, Mr Johnston said the MUA’s environmental commitment is clear but ‘without these tariff increases, we cannot pay our bills’.