Thursday 19 July 2018

Second hike in gas and electricity is on the cards

Stock Image: PA
Stock Image: PA
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Fears are mounting that energy companies will try to impose a second price rise this year.

It comes after PrePayPower became the eighth supplier to hike its prices.

Wholesale energy costs, which are continuing to rise, are being blamed.

PrePayPower will raise electricity prices by 6.6pc from August 3, and gas prices will increase by 7.5pc.

This will add more than €75 to the average customer's electricity bill, and just over €60 to the average gas bill.

PrePayPower mainly offers pay-as-you go meters.

The company claimed the increase is unavoidable due to a sustained rise in wholesale energy costs.

Daragh Cassidy of price comparison site Bonkers.ie said PrePayPower is now the eighth energy supplier to announce a price hike since June, which means almost everyone will have been affected by a price increase come August.

"With wholesale energy costs continuing to remain high, the question now is whether customers can expect a second increase later in the year," he said.

Electric Ireland, SSE Airtricity, Energia, Pinergy, Panda Power, Flogas and Bord Gáis have already said they will be imposing higher prices from August.

The hikes are between 12.38pc and 5pc, with electricity bills alone likely to go up by up to €80 a year.

Only BeEnergy and Just Energy have not raised their prices.

The energy regulator, in its annual review of the sector, insisted the market is competitive and customers can counteract the price rises by seeking a better deal.

Householders who have actively switched their electricity supplier every year for the past four years will have saved more than €1,000, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities said.

But a majority of households do not actively switch supplier, the commission found.

Around 27,000 people switch electricity supplier, and 11,000 switch gas supplier, every month.

Customers who switched their electricity provider every year for the last four years would be better off to the tune of €1,146.

Gas switchers would have saved €670 over the four-year period.

Those with electricity and gas, who have been active switchers, would be €1,417 better off, according to the calculations by the energy regulator.

The regulator has insisted the market is competitive.

Evidence of this comes from the fact that Electric Ireland, the retail arm of the ESB, has seen its share of the consumer market fall below 50pc for the first time, it said.

Commissioner Aoife MacEvilly said: "The continued downward trend of market share of the largest supplier is a good indication that competition has continued to grow."

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business