Monday 22 October 2018

Householders hit by electricity and health insurance price hikes

SSE Airtricity is to increase electricity and gas prices from the middle of next month. It is the first energy company to announce a price rise this year. Stock image
SSE Airtricity is to increase electricity and gas prices from the middle of next month. It is the first energy company to announce a price rise this year. Stock image
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Consumers are to be hit by price rises from fuel supplier SSE Airtricity and health insurer Laya.

SSE Airtricity is to increase electricity and gas prices from the middle of next month. It is the first energy company to announce a price rise this year.

However, the last time it raised its costs other suppliers followed its lead within weeks.

Electricity costs are going up by 6.4pc, and gas by 12.3pc. The increases will mean annual bills rising by €140 for dual-fuel customers.

The company said the move was in response to sustained increases in wholesale energy costs on global markets.

The price rises take effect from July 14 next.

Electricity-only customers of SSE Airtricity face paying almost €60 extra a year for their supply. Gas-only customers will see annual bills rise by €80.

The company said it was the first increase in SSE Airtricity's gas prices since 2013 and the second in electricity prices in the same five-year period. SSE Airtricity hiked its electricity prices by 5.6pc in November.

Director of home energy at SSE Airtricity David Manning said: "The decision to increase energy prices is never taken lightly. It is in direct response to rising global energy costs outside of our control, and especially the sustained increases in wholesale gas prices over the past 12 months."

Cost

The second largest health insurer in the market is also to increase prices on a number of plans.

Laya Healthcare said it would also reduce prices on half of its plans and was introducing a range of additional benefits on a number of plans.

The move comes soon after Vhi said it was to cut its prices for the third time in less than a year.

Laya is to raise prices by 2.6pc on 61 plans, with the company blaming what it said was a sustained increase in the cost and volume of claims from public and private hospitals.

The rise will see the Essential Connect Family rise by just less than 1pc in price. This will cost a family of two adults and two children an extra €30 a year.

Laya said half of its plans would be reduced in price from the start of next month. Average reductions of 3.9pc would be applied to 66 different plans.

This would see an adult member saving €100 when they renew on the Assure Protect plan, taking the price to €482.

The higher end Simply Connect, one of the insurer's more popular plan, will go down by €79 a year for an adult on renewal.

There will be no change in the cost of five Laya schemes.

Laya boss Dónal Clancy said the insurer was introducing enhanced benefits on a range of plans from next month.

Earlier this week, Vhi offered cash back to customers who agree to pay it electronically and sign up to receive documents online. Vhi will reduce premiums by an average of 2pc on 54 plans in July.

Irish Independent

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