THE majority of households are paying over the odds for electricity and gas because they have never switched supplier.
And many of those who have switched have come to the end of their deal and are back paying sky-high standard tariffs, an energy expert said.
The failure of so many consumers to move to a different supplier means they are missing out on annual savings of up to €270 a year, Simon Moynihan of price comparison site Bonkers.ie said.
He was responding to the formal launch of the new gas and electricity supplier Energia, which is set to be the cheapest in the market for families that take both fuels from it.
The new supplier will cost €1,920 a year for a dual-fuel deal – this is €217 cheaper than standard rates, and €92 cheaper than the next best offer from Electric Ireland.
Mr Moynihan referred to research carried out by the National Consumer Agency that found that three out of five households have never switched electricity or gas supplier.
"These people are missing out on savings of €217 a year with the launch of Energia into the domestic market. And many of those who have switched are back paying high standard rates because their one-year deals have expired," Mr Moynihan said.
The consumer agency research also found that many of those who have not switched have not even gone to the trouble of checking out if they could gain from moving to a different supplier.
Energia will be the cheapest for those who opt for its dual-fuel Smart Choice gas and electricity offering.
However, it will be the second cheapest for those who only get electricity. Bord Gais will remain the cheapest at an average of €1,069 a year for a typical home. This is €6 a year cheaper than Energia.
When it comes to gas only, Flogas is still the cheapest at €852 a year, €3 a year cheaper than Energia.
People who sign up for Energia will have to agree to a one-year contract, pay by direct debit and accept electronic billing.
Energia, which is part of the Viridian Group, operates two major generating power stations in Dublin and a number of wind farms around the country.