Householders will receive a second energy bill credit before Christmas to cushion the impact of across-the-board price increases.

The move was confirmed by Minister Eamon Ryan, as Energia became the latest company to announce a big hike in its electricity and gas prices from next month.

The European Commission is also proposing sweeping new measures to deal with the spike in energy prices - including a mandatory reduction in electricity use during peak hours.

However, Taoiseach Micheál Martin this afternoon declined to confirm an energy rebate before Christmas in Budget 2023.

Speaking in Dublin, he said: "I'm not doing the Budget now."

Mr Martin added that it is one of a series of measures under consideration.

Describing the Green Party leader's energy saving plan for the public sector, which was considered by the Cabinet today, as a "no brainer", he also called on the public to be "more efficient" in the use of energy.

Earlier, Mr Ryan said there will be another form of universal energy credit and new measures for small businesses in this month's Budget to help people manage increases in the cost of living.

The Cabinet met this morning at Dublin Castle to discuss an energy reduction plan for the public sector, the Budget, and EU proposals for a windfall tax to reduce electricity prices.

The Minister for Transport, Climate, Environment and Communications said providing householders with a second energy credit before Christmas is the "right time to do it".

Speaking on his way into Cabinet, Mr Ryan said the Government was correct not to have had a mini-budget in the summer because the time the energy crisis was going to affect the public was from late autumn.

He added: "I think it was absolutely right of us to hold our fire... to wait to see what the real situation was in the autumn. And that's when we need to provide supports. And that's the right time to do it."

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath also said another energy credit is an "option on the table" to help people quickly to "make a real difference".

Speaking as he arrived for the Cabinet meeting, he said some measures will be targeted in terms of social welfare and Government payment schemes.

However, he added, the Government is also considering schemes with a "broader application" for people who are above the eligibility threshold for State benefits.

Other plans signed off on are a maximum temperature limit of 19C degrees in public buildings, consolidation of staff inside buildings to reduce heating bills, and ensuring that all lights are turned off after work.

There will also be a public information campaign urging householders and business to avoid, as much as possible, using electricity at peak times.

Mr Ryan said there will be extensive supports in the Budget to help people get through this difficult time.

"There will be an ongoing campaign to reduce usage and to save money to manage this wartime situation, which is what we are in [with] energy used as a weapon of war," he said.

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It was expected that the ministers would also look ahead to the emergency meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels this Friday, where topics such as price caps and windfall taxes will be discussed.

Mr Ryan predicted on RTÉ's Prime Time last night that the windfall tax plan will be passed - in which what he termed "excess revenues" will be taken from energy companies, who are not generating electricity from gas, and used to off-set price hikes.

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People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd-Barrett has said renewable energy companies are recording "obscene" profits while increasing the cost of energy.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said much of the energy produced in Ireland is not affected by international gas prices or the war in Ukraine and called for the nationalisation of the energy sector.

Mr Boyd Barrett said the argument for privatising energy companies in Ireland was that it would lead to a reduction in energy costs for consumers, but "the opposite has happened".

He called for a cap to bring energy prices down to those seen at the end of 2021 and said a "broad package" of measures that PBP proposes would cost €15 billion.

Responding to reports in one newspaper, attributed to an anonymous Government source, about concerns people will stop paying their bills if prices get too high, Mr Boyd Barrett said he believes people would be "entirely justified" in doing so, but said for many this course of action would not be viable.

"Most of the poorest people have pay as you go meters, so if they didn't pay, they wouldn’t have any heating or electricity.

"We need to see mass mobilisation and people power pressure on this Government to take much more radical measures to address the cost of living crisis."

Speaking on the same programme, Dr Paul Deane of the MaRei Centre at University College Cork said the energy crisis will continue to deepen into winter.

He said the important message for householders to understand how they can reduce their discretionary energy use, adding "we're not asking for people to come home and sit in the dark between the hours of 5pm and 7pm.

"It's something like the dishwasher or the tumble dryer. If you've come home from work and maybe cycled home, you need an electric charge if you can think about doing those things later.

"So it's not so much about stopping your energy use but about being smart about those discretionary loads and using them at different times. If you can do that that would help us at a national level."