ESB Group has reported a significant rise in profits for the first half of the year against the backdrop of surging energy prices on international markets and soaring bills for consumers.

According to the group's half year results, profit after tax and exceptional items came in at €390 million.

That was more than three times the profit of €128 million that it made in the same period last year.

Revenue of almost €3.7 billion was up from almost €2.2 billion last year.

The group reported an operating profit before exceptional items of €357 million, which amounted to a marginal decline of €6 million on the same period last year.

The fall in that metric was accounted for by changes to the regulated network tariff - the fee that networks charge for using their infrastructure - losses in its customer solutions business and foreign exchange movements.

Losses in those areas were offset by higher margins in the Group's energy generation business, which, it says, reflected "increasing wholesale market prices".

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Paddy Hayes, CEO of ESB said the profit position gave the company the basis to make significant investment in the energy infrastructure.

He acknowledged the concern that people were experiencing with rising energy bills, but he said that it was driven by international wholesale prices, particularly on gas markets.

"ESB is required to operate different parts of its Irish business separately so we're not in a position to offset costs in the retail business with profits in the generation business, but what we do is we invest them in the long-term energy infrastructure," he explained.

"It's important to note that ESB is a state company. All of the profits we make are invested in the long term energy infrastructure and we give those back in terms of taxation and a long-term dividend. Over the last ten years, we've given a dividend of €1.2 billion," Mr Hayes added.

He said the pricing of wind generated energy - which is linked to wholesale prices that are mainly dictated by fossil fuels - did amount to an 'anomaly' in the electricity market.

"It wasn't designed for a situation like this with war in Europe."

"It is really important that we become energy independent and one of the ways we do that is by increasing renewables and that's something we're doing," he said.