Wednesday 18 October 2017

Campaign urging 20,000 consumers to switch and save on energy

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Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

A campaign to get thousands of consumers to switch energy and insurance providers en masse has been launched in a bid to get group discounts.

It comes days after the first of what is expected to be a succession of energy price rises was announced. SSE Airtricity is to hit its customers with a price rise of 5.6pc from the start of November in a move that will add around €50 a year to the average bill.

Bord Gáis Energy said 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.

Energy experts warned more price rises from other suppliers are now on the way following three years of record-low wholesale costs that led to minor price cuts for consumers.

The price rises come despite global energy supplier Just Energy entering this market last week. This takes to 10 the number of energy suppliers in the Irish market.

The levy on all electricity bills also went up yesterday. The so-called public service obligation (PSO) levy has risen by €25 to €104.50 a year on every household's bill.

Increasing awareness: Oliver Tattan of One Big Switch. Photo: Collins
Increasing awareness: Oliver Tattan of One Big Switch. Photo: Collins

Now, One Big Switch is hoping to get thousands of people to sign up so it can negotiate reductions for those who join the scheme.

The campaign aims to get 20,000 consumers to sign up at onebigswitch.ie. It then hopes to use the combined buying power of those who have signed up to negotiate a big discount on energy and home and motor insurance.

Co-founder of One Big Switch Oliver Tattan said people who switch from standard electricity and gas rates to discounted offerings can save around €300 a year.

However, only 14pc of consumers switched energy provider in the last year. He said a recent Aviva-commissioned survey had found that around one million adults are struggling financially. And Ireland is the second most expensive country in the European Union.

"While there's some degree of economic recovery in Ireland, average earnings are increasing at somewhere between a quarter and third of the rate they did the last time employment was this high.

"People still need to save where they can, and the best way to do this is shopping around for your big ticket items like insurance and energy.

"A whopping 86pc of people didn't switch their energy last year. This campaign hopes to increase awareness around switching and unlock offers to help people save," Mr Tattan said.

One Big Switch has nearly 100,000 members nationally and uses their combined buying power to unlock group discounted offer on household bill.

Eoin Clarke, of price comparison site Switcher.ie, said new entrant Just Energy has one of the most competitive gas deals on the market, which could save the average gas customer €147 when compared to standard tariffs.

Irish Independent

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