Thursday 19 October 2017

Electric Ireland cites energy costs as it becomes third supplier to up its prices

Electric Ireland's Jim Dollard
Electric Ireland's Jim Dollard
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Electric Ireland has become the latest energy provider to increase its prices.

The State-owned company said it will raise residential electricity prices by 4pc, but will defer applying this increase until February.

The move will add €35 a year to the average bill.

Mark Whelan of price comparison site Bonkers.ie said the average annual bill will go from €971 to just over €1,000 a year.

It comes just a week after Bord Gáis said it was hiking electricity and gas prices, and SSE Airtricity said it was raising its electricity prices.

Electric Ireland, which is the retail brand of ESB, said it was protecting customers from the impact of rising energy costs this winter by delaying the rise to the new year.

The company blamed a rise in wholesale energy costs.

Executive director of Electric Ireland Jim Dollard said the energy company was conscious of the financial pressures facing customers.

"We are committed to keeping prices as low as possible for as long as possible," he said.

Mr Dollard defended the decision, pointing out that over the past four years Electric Ireland "has passed on all savings as a result of wholesale energy cost reductions".

He said his company became the first supplier in the Irish market to offer enduring long-term savings of up to 8.5pc to residential electricity and gas customers who stay with Electric Ireland.

Eoin Clarke of price comparison site Switcher.ie warned that other suppliers will now hike prices.

"This is the third large energy supplier to announce a price increase in the last week, so the other suppliers are probably not far behind," he said.

Mr Whelan added: "One thing is very clear - energy prices are on the rise. It is likely that more suppliers will announce hikes over the coming weeks."

Bord Gáis Energy said last week its electricity prices are going up by 5.9pc and gas bills by 3.4pc from November 1.

This will mean the average electricity bill will rise by €57 a year, with typical gas bills rising by €25 a year.

The latest increase comes as the levy on all electricity bills went up last week.

The public service obligation (PSO) levy has risen by €25 to €104.50 a year on every household's bill.

The latest Vayu Energy report shows wholesale electricity prices are up 28pc year on year.

However, average gas and electricity users could save up to €324 by switching from typical standard tariffs to the cheapest deals in the market.

Energy experts said that if you live in a large household with higher consumption, you can make even bigger savings.

Mr Clarke said only about 15pc of us switch energy supplier each year, which means most households are on expensive standard energy tariffs and could do better by moving to another provider.

Irish Independent

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