Tuesday 24 January 2017

Smart Consumer: Why a 5% hike will help you make the big switch

Tina Leonard

Published 12/08/2010 | 05:00

The heating may be turned off but you're still consuming and paying for electricity and gas when using your appliances around the house.

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So if you haven't already done so, you should think about switching to the cheapest provider.

If you're not convinced, then this week's announcement that electricity prices will go up by 5pc from October might focus your mind.

The 5% rise is a Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy imposed by the Government to go towards the costs of developing sustainable and renewable energy and is separate to the tariff.

There is no doubt Ireland relies too much on imported fossil fuels -- it generates 80% of our electricity -- and this means alternative sources are needed if we are to reduce our dependence on international fuel prices and the high prices that come with it.

But none of us need a hiked- up electricity bill in the autumn, and Irish consumers already pay up to 20% more than the EU average for electricity and 17% more for domestic gas.

At least, following their annual review, the Commission for Energy Regulation is not suggesting an increase in gas prices from October. But we won't know until closer to that time whether they propose an increase in ESB electricity prices, separate to the PSO levy.

Regardless, you will still be paying more from October no matter what electricity provider you choose, because the prices are benchmarked against the those of the ESB.

But act now and switch to get the lowest available rate as soon as you can. After that, you might want to turn down the thermostat and put on a woolly jumper instead.

What's on offer?

These reductions only apply to new customers and the costs shown are as a percentage less than ESB rates for domestic electricity and as a percentage less than Bord Gais rates for domestic gas.

Electricity

Bord Gais 10% flat rate; 12% if you pay by direct debit; 14% if you pay by direct debit and are an existing gas customer.

Valid for 12 months from switching or until ESB deregulation.

Airtricity 5% with postal bill; 6% ebill; 12% direct debit and postal bill; 13% direct debit and ebill.

Valid for 12 months.

Gas

Flogas 7% flat rate; 11% if you pay by direct debit.

Valid until at least 2011.

Airtricity

These are available only if you also purchase electricity from Airtricty under their 'dual fuel' offer.

5% postal bill; 6% ebill; 9% direct debit and postal bill; 10% direct debit and ebill.

Valid until the end of September 2011..

Irish Independent

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