Price rises to prompt a surge in energy switching
A succession of hikes by energy companies will prompt more people to switch supplier, new research shows.
Six out of 10 householders now say they will be encouraged to move supplier after seven electricity and gas providers hiked prices, according to research commissioned by Switcher.ie.
It comes as new ESRI research shows poorer households up their spending significantly on energy when their incomes rise.
Seven energy companies have now announced price hikes, adding up to €57 to the average household electricity bill, and up to €25 to gas bills.
These suppliers account for the lion's share of the market.
New research shows 62pc of consumers said that price rises would encourage them to end their contract with their current energy supplier.
A similar percentage said they would switch if they got a better deal elsewhere, a survey of 1,000 people carried out by Coyne Research for price comparison site Switcher.ie found.
Eoin Clarke of Switcher.ie said this implied that price increases would bring about a spike in switching.
He said the average household with both electricity and gas could save €360 by switching to a better deal.
"Energy switching levels in Ireland have remained fairly static over the past number of years, but that could all be about to change.
"Most of us say we'd switch if prices went up, or if we could get a better deal elsewhere.
"The fact now is that the vast majority of consumers in Ireland are going to see the cost of their energy going up over the next few months," Mr Clarke said.
He said the electricity increases that have been announced will add between €31 and €57 onto the average household bill, while the gas increases will add up to €25 to the average bill.
They are the first price rises in Ireland in three years, during which time consumer switching levels remained fairly static.
New measures mandated by the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU), the energy regulator, mean householders now have to be given 30 days' notice before their energy discount deal comes to an end.