'We have no option' - fourth energy firm to raise prices, more set to follow
Energy provider Energia is to increase its electricity prices from December. This follows price-rise announcements from Airtricity, Electric Ireland and Bord Gáis.
Energia's increase will add €31 a year to the average electricity bill for customers, as prices are going up by almost 4pc.
The company tends to have the largest discounts for switchers. It cited higher wholesale energy prices for the hike.
The head of marketing at Energia, Geoff Codd, said: "The price of gas on the international wholesale markets has increased by over a quarter this year. This means that Energia's costs have risen considerably in recent months.
"Regrettably, as a result of this significant price rise, we have no option but to pass on a modest increase in price to our customers."
It comes after the levy on all electricity bills to support the generation of power from renewables and peat went up by €25 a year from the start of this month.
The levy will now cost €104.50 a year when taxes are included.
Known as the PSO (public services obligation), it is a subsidy charged to all electricity customers to support national policy objectives related to renewable energy, peat and security of energy supply.
A succession of energy companies have announced price increases, with expectations of more to come.
However, Electric Ireland is delaying its price rise for more than one million of its customers until February.
Mark Whelan, of the price-comparison site Bonkers.ie, said the fact that the PSO levy increase kicked in earlier this month meant that this was now a 'double-whammy' price hike for a huge number of electricity customers.
"This is the fourth energy price increase announcement in the last four weeks, meaning that one thing is very clear - energy prices are on the rise," he said.
Bord Gáis is increasing electricity and gas prices, with Airtricity and Electric Ireland raising the cost of electricity. It is likely that more suppliers will announce hikes over the coming weeks, Mr Whelan added.
He advised customers to reduce their consumption or switch to a cheaper supplier to offset the pending increases.
Eoin Clarke, of Switcher.ie, said that only about 15pc of Irish consumers switch energy supplier each year, which means that most of us are paying more than we need to for our energy.
He said the market was competitive, despite the rises.
There are some heavily discounted plans available to new customers signing up, along with ongoing discounts for things like paying by direct debit, always paying on time and opting to receive bills online.
An average dual-fuel customer switching from typical standard tariffs to the cheapest deals can save up to €362, he said.