FAMILIES will be hit with massive hikes in winter fuel bills after a fourth gas supplier yesterday announced it is to hike its prices from Saturday.
Flogas is to raise charges by 22pc, the Irish Independent has learnt.
Bord Gais and ESB Electric earlier announced they would increase their domestic gas bills by a similar percentage on the same day. Airtricity has already increased its gas prices.
This means consumers will have to fork out an extra €120 a year, as the average annual domestic gas bill jumps to €750.
The cost of household electricity supplied by the ESB will also rise by 15pc on Saturday, adding an extra €100 to the average household's yearly lighting and cooking bill.
Families will see their average annual ESB electricity bill rise to €1,100.
There has already been a 12pc rise in electricity prices supplied by both Bord Gais and Airtricity.
Flogas, which supplies town gas to around 20,000 residences, is to announce today that its unit price of gas will rise by 22pc for households. There will be no change in the standing charge.
But the gas supplier insisted it would remain 15pc lower than the Bord Gais regulated gas unit rate.
Allied to the gas and electricity hikes, the cost of filling a 1,000-litre tank with home-heating oil has shot up by €148 since last year to an average of €818.
The chief executive of the Consumers' Association said it was going to be an extremely expensive winter for householders.
Dermot Jewell said it was a disgrace that all four gas suppliers had gone for a similar 22pc rise in tarifs. "We are looking at a winter of discontent as far as bills are concerned," he said.
The rises mean that Airtricity will now be the cheapest for electricity only. This is for those who choose the company's Home Energy Saver deal and agree to pay by direct debit and accept online billing.
Flogas will still be the cheapest for gas.
For those who choose to get their domestic gas and electricity from the same supplier Airtricity's Home Energy Bundle offers the best value, independent energy experts said.
In January, the State's 1.8 million households are due to be hit with a new €100 'household charge' tax. Home insurance could also rise by as much as 15pc, while petrol and diesel prices remain at elevated levels.