The utilities regulator has extended the moratorium on domestic electricity and gas disconnections to April 19.

In a statement the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) said it had taken the decision in consultation with gas and electricity suppliers.

"This measure was taken to provide appropriate protection and reassurance for electricity and gas customers during the current period of uncertainty," it said.

"The CRU is committed to continuing to work with industry stakeholders and consumers during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure continued electricity and gas supply."

Two weeks ago the CRU also announced an increase in emergency credit levels for all gas prepayment customers from €10 to €100 and that remains in place.

The measure was taken because gas credit cannot be bought online and purchasing it requires leaving the house and going to a retail outlet.

In order to ensure supplies remain uninterrupted, the CRU also said it remains in constant contact with the Eirgird and Gas Networks Ireland, as well as Irish Water to monitor the implementation of their individual business continuity plans.

Meanwhile, the ESB has said its business units - including generation, transmission, distribution and supply - have implemented business continuity response plans to ensure continued provision of a safe and reliable electricity service to homes and businesses across Ireland. 

"ESB recognises that our role in the provision of a reliable electricity service is critical to the economy and society," it added.

It said the Covid-19 pandemic will challenge ESB both operationally and financially this year, adding that its main focus remains on ensuring the continued provision of a safe and reliable electricity service for its customers.

The state owned energy company today reported profit after tax of €338m and capital investment of €1.2 billion for last year. 

ESB said it will pay a dividend of €88m for 2019 with total dividends paid to the Exchequer over the past decade now amounting to €1.2 billion.

It said that despite challenging times for the industry over recent years, it continues to maintain strong investment grade credit ratings of A- / A3 with Standard & Poor's and Moody's credit rating agencies.

The company said that competition, regulation and decarbonisation has significantly changed the operating environment for thermal generation plants in recent years.

This resulted in the ESB, in line with other utilities across Europe, impairing some of its generation assets and it made an exceptional, non-cash charge of €94m relating to its generation portfolio for 2019. 

"ESB's diversified businesses and solid financial position ensures it is well placed to meet current and future challenges," the company said today. 

"We are acutely aware that we are in the midst of an unprecedented event with many of our customers experiencing financial challenges and uncertainty," it added.