Sunday 11 December 2016

Fuel firms urged to cut prices as winter cold sets in

Published 06/10/2015 | 02:30

Irish wholesale gas prices are now 21pc lower in euro terms than the average monthly price recorded for September in each of the past three years
Irish wholesale gas prices are now 21pc lower in euro terms than the average monthly price recorded for September in each of the past three years

Energy companies are facing pressure to cut tariffs ahead of the colder winter period, as wholesale prices are at a five-year low.

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Energy companies are facing pressure to cut tariffs ahead of the colder winter period, as wholesale prices are at a five-year low.

A cut by Bord Gáis to its electricity and gas prices took effect last week, but others have failed to react.

Irish wholesale gas prices are now 21pc lower in euro terms than the average monthly price recorded for September in each of the past three years.

Switching both electricity and gas can save households some €340 less than typical standard tariffs, price-comparison service Switcher.ie said.

Electricity prices for Bord Gáis customers came down by 2pc at the start of this month, with gas prices falling by 2.5pc for householders.

Head of the Consumers' Association Dermott Jewell said energy companies were benefiting from a collapse in wholesale prices and should pass this on to consumers.

"Most of the energy companies are sitting on their hands instead of cutting prices for householders. Wholesale energy prices are down, but they are not passing this on. You have to question their approach to customer loyalty," Mr Jewell said.

Exploiting

He accused energy companies of exploiting the reluctance of most people to switch energy suppliers to get better deals.

Managing director of Switcher.ie, Eoin Clarke, said more cuts were needed.

"Energy customers are still waiting for other energy suppliers to follow Bord Gáis Energy's lead by making further cuts to gas and electricity tariffs.

Wholesale energy prices are at a five-year low, suppliers who are refusing to reduce bills further have a lot of explaining to do."

Mr Clarke said a second round of price cuts will not only help cash-strapped consumers before winter arrives, but it would signal the industry's commitment to passing on savings to energy customers.

He encouraged consumers to switch suppliers, as there is a €343-a-year difference between typical standard tariffs and the cheapest deal on the market, for customers using both electricity and gas.

But the majority are missing out on the best deals as only 15pc of people switch energy supplier each year. Those who do not switch end up on high-standard tariffs.

"Energy suppliers have launched big discounts this year. There is always a new discount or other incentive on offer. Households are missing out on massive savings by not switching," Mr Clarke added.

Irish Independent

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