Monday 18 February 2019

More firms urged to cut energy bills for households

Minister Alex White
Minister Alex White
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

ENERGY Minister Alex White has called on gas and electricity suppliers to cut their prices after Bord Gais Energy said it would reduce the cost of heating and lighting homes.

The former State company is cutting domestic gas bills for existing and new customers by 3.5pc, and electricity prices for all customers by 2.5pc from March 16.

This newspaper has been campaigning to have domestic electricity and gas rates reduced.

The decrease in the gas price represents a saving of €29.47 on the average bill, while the reduction in the electricity price represents a saving of €24.91 on the average bill, Bord Gais Energy said.

Households using both gas and electricity from Bord Gais will save more than €54 a year, the company said.

The move comes after Mr White said he would call the bosses of the energy firms into his office in a bid to push them to cut prices for households.

He said: "This is a very welcome development, and I hope to see other energy suppliers follow suit. I will be meeting with the energy suppliers next week to hear what they have to say on the question of passing on wholesale price reductions."

Aoife McEvilly of the Commission for Energy Regulation had already called on energy firms to reduce prices for households.

Energy firms are no longer regulated on prices, since Bord Gais and ESB/Electric Ireland ceased to dominate the market.

Dave Kirwan, chief operating officer of Bord Gais Energy, said: "We will continue to monitor wholesale and other costs and should further savings occur we will seek to reflect that in our prices."

Wholesale gas prices are down 16pc in the past year. Half of the electricity generated in this State is from gas, and it is the main input for residential gas supplies.

Electric Ireland cut its standard electricity prices with effect from November 17, 2014.

Eoin Clarke, head of price comparison site uSwitch, welcomed the cuts, which he said were well overdue, but he added that they did not go far enough.

He called on other suppliers to follow up with reductions.

"Given the huge reductions in wholesale prices - which make up around half of energy bills - we believe unit rates can and should be cut even further."

Irish Independent

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