Customers to be hit with €120 increase
HOUSEHOLDERS are being stung again by rising electricity prices, with a 12pc hike in charges announced by the ESB set to add €120 to average annual bills.
The increase will hit the company's 1.2 million customers from October 1 and follows similar rises by rival suppliers Bord Gais and Airtricity earlier this summer.
The company, which has been rebranded ESB Electric Ireland, said it regretted the increase but blamed it on a 40pc rise in international wholesale gas prices over the last year.
General manager Liam Molloy said: "We will continue to work with our customers who are facing difficulties in dealing with their electricity accounts.
"International energy prices have risen steeply over the past year and unfortunately we can no longer continue to absorb these increased costs without reflecting them in the prices we charge our customers.
"We have held off increasing electricity prices for as long as possible."
However, older people's charity ALONE expressed concern over the price hikes.
"Increased energy costs mean many of the older people who need our services will be faced with deepening poverty and a shocking but real choice; 'to heat or to eat?'," Sean Moynihan, of ALONE said.
Earlier this month Airtricity announced plans to increase gas tariffs by 21pc and electricity by 12pc from the end of next month.
This meant customers faced hikes of about €160 a year to household gas bills and about €144 on electricity.
Bord Gais was given the all-clear by the Energy Regulator in July to hike its charges for household gas by 22pc from October. That adds about €160 to the average bill.
The company also put up its electricity charges 12pc that month, adding €144 to customers' bills.