Monday 22 July 2019

Calls for energy firms to follow Airtricity cuts

SSE Airtricity said it was reducing its gas prices by 4pc on April 1, with electricity costs for households going down by 2pc on the same day
SSE Airtricity said it was reducing its gas prices by 4pc on April 1, with electricity costs for households going down by 2pc on the same day
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

ANOTHER energy firm has cut its prices but households will have to wait for the reductions to be implemented.

And there was criticism that the decreases being announced are too small and will take too long to take effect.

SSE Airtricity said it was reducing its gas prices by 4pc on April 1, with electricity costs for households going down by 2pc on the same day.

The reduction comes after the bosses from Airtricity met Energy Minister Alex White.

The minister has asked all the energy firm heads to meet him to explain why they are not passing on massive falls in commodity prices to domestic customers. The Airtricity reductions are for both existing and new customers, and will save a customer with both electricity and gas €59 in a full year.

Last week, Bord Gais said it was dropping its prices by single-digit percentages with effect from the middle of March.

Wholesale gas, which is used to generate half of the electricity in Ireland, has fallen 30pc in the past year.

Experts argue that cuts of 10pc in residential prices should be implemented. This would save the average household with electricity and gas around €200 a year.

And Electric Ireland, the new name for ESB's retail business, reduced electricity prices by 2pc at the end of last year.

There were calls for more reductions from Electric Ireland.

Energy firms tend to be highly profitable.

Eoin Clarke of price comparison site uSwitch.ie, said: "While it's great to see another supplier cutting prices, single-digit price reductions fall short of the double-digit fall in wholesale energy prices.

"Switching suppliers is still the quickest way to save money. There is an incredible €307 per year difference between the best deal on the market and the average standard tariff - so customers should shop around to check that they are on the best tariff."

He called on Electric Ireland, Energia and Flogas to follow the lead of Bord Gais Energy and SSE Airtricity and cut their prices to help hard-pressed consumers with energy bills.

Simon Moynihan, of comparison site Bonkers.ie, said it was taking too long for the decreases to feed through to domestic bills.

"Why are price cuts taking so long to take effect though?

"SSE Airtricity's reductions won't kick in until April, and the price cuts announced by Bord Gais Energy last week will not take effect until mid-March."

Mr White yesterday began a series of separate meetings with the chief executives of energy companies to discuss the slow speed with which wholesale energy price reductions were being reflected in household bills.

He said: "I welcome the Airtricity price cuts, just as I welcomed last week's decision by Bord Gais Energy.

"I hope to see others take similar decisions to reduce domestic energy prices."

Irish Independent

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