Most households missing out on more than €1,000 in savings on electricity
HOUSEHOLDERS who have actively switched their electricity supplier every year for the past four years will have saved more than €1,000.
A new report from the energy regulator shows that most consumers are passing up these savings.
A majority of households do not actively switch supplier, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities has found.
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 both electricity and gas, who have been active switchers, would be €1,417 better off, according to the calculations by the energy regulator.
The findings came after two more energy companies hiked their prices this week, to take to six the total number of providers that said tariffs would be higher from next month.
Electric Ireland, Energia, Panda Power, Pinergy and SSE Airtricity are all increasing both electricity and gas prices from August 1, with Flogas pushing up gas costs.
The hikes are between 12.38pc and 5pc, with electricity bills alone likely to go up by up to €80 a year.
But the energy regulator, in its annual review of the market, 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.
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.”
She aid the recent price rises announced by suppliers will have an impact on customer bills, but the energy regulator’s switch research shows that those who either switch or renegotiate with their supplier could more than beat the price rises and still see a significant saving.
“Prices change regularly and the CRU (Commission for Regulation of Utilities) encourages customers to shop around for the best deals every year.”
Ms MacEvilly said there are now 12 active electricity suppliers and eight gas suppliers.
This meant there is choice for consumers to exercise their rights and switch on to what competition in the market place can do for them.
Only 14pc of electricity customers switching savings every year, despite the savings to be made and the number of suppliers in the market.
Gas switching rose to 18pc last year, which was a record high, the regulator said.
Last year the average annual electricity bill across all suppliers increased on average by 6pc, while gas bills were the same as 2016 prices.
Price comparison site Switcher.ie said switching rates for both gas and electricity are above 10bu, and rank well global levels.
Eoin Clarke of Switcher.ie said the figures mean that the vast majority of people do not switch regularly and are therefore overpaying on our energy bills.
He said research carried out for Switcher.ie has shown that people are put off switching because they think it’s too time-consuming, they’re not sure how much they can save and they’re worried about a loss in supply.