Thursday 22 February 2018

Cost of home heating falls to EU average as competition takes off

Paul Melia

THE cost of home heating here is finally falling to the EU average, after major drops in domestic electricity and gas prices.

New figures from Eurostat, the EU's statistical office, show that domestic electricity prices fell by 12.2pc in the year up to last June, with falls of up to 36pc for medium and large businesses.

And the cost of using gas for home heating has also fallen by 23pc -- 5pc more than the EU average.

Ireland has among the cheapest gas prices for medium to large businesses, with prices 14pc below the average.

Energy Minister Eamon Ryan said the prices were because of competition in the market. Bord Gais and Airtricity supply both gas and electricity, while the ESB is expected to enter the gas market next year.

"Ireland now has some of the cheapest energy in the European Union," he said.

"Government policy to develop open, competitive gas and electricity markets means that prices are now at, or well below the EU average, for all energy customers.

"Costs are also lower than those in the UK. This provides a crucial competitive advantage, as we seek to attract further investment and stimulate growth in the Irish economy."

This data follows a recent EU Commission study that shows that Ireland has the highest rate of consumer switching in electricity in the past two years at 28pc.

Ireland was also ranked as second in the EU for government support, and Irish customers were among the most satisfied that their electricity prices were fair and reasonable.

A total of 692,000 homes have moved from the ESB since January 2009, but 70,000 have since returned to the ESB, the dominant electricity supplier.

Eurostat said Ireland was ranked between 15th (out of 24) most expensive for the smallest consumers and 20th most expensive for the largest consumers for gas.

Irish Independent

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