HOMEOWNERS are losing up to €254 a year by not switching electricity and gas suppliers, new price comparison service uSwitch has found.
The British price comparison operation has set up here in a move that is expected to force utility providers to cut their prices, the Irish Independent has learned.
This new service will show the prices of gas, electricity, home broadband and digital television in what is expected to prompt consumers to save by becoming more frequent switchers.
Moving energy suppliers could mean big savings for homeowners, uSwitch found.
It said the average household was spending €1,179 on electricity by using ESB/Electric Ireland's standard domestic rate. But by switching to Airtricity's Home Electricity Saver, the annual cost drops to €1,049.
This is a one-year contract, and the householder will have to sign up for a direct debit.
Over a year, the savings on electricity amount to €130.
Moving gas supplier from Bord Gais's standard rate to Flogas's Direct Debit Discount will mean an annual saving of €124.
Consumers have shown a reluctance to switch service and product providers. Recent research conducted by the National Consumer Agency found that only a third of people switch providers.
The head of uSwitch.ie in Ireland, Eoin Clarke, said householders were facing into another financially tough year.
A survey commissioned by uSwitch among 1,000 adults found that eight out of 10 people were worried about the cost of their energy bills. And two-thirds expected their income to drop this year.
The survey findings highlight the need for consumers to offset the decline in their spending power by cutting the cost of their essential household bills, shopping around and switching to save some cash, Mr Clarke said.
The new service is free and allows consumers to compare prices and the services offered by all the players in the energy, broadband and TV market. Profits are generated for uSwitch from commissions paid by suppliers when consumers switch.
Mr Clarke said: "The great thing is that we are able to draw upon over 12 years' experience of saving consumers money in the UK and we will now be able to use this expertise to help Irish households, too.
"Our service is free, independent and impartial, which means that consumers can rely on us to give them honest, truthful advice about the best deals and services for their needs."
Mr Clarke said his company had helped more than two million people switch energy suppliers in Britain.
The new service will compete with Bonkers.ie, which is accredited by the Energy Regulator as a price comparison site for electricity and gas.