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Energy bills to go up as spending on food slumps

BORD Gais is hiking its electricity prices as a new survey revealed shoppers are spending less on food.

More expected bad news for consumers was confirmed when Bord Gais said it will increase the charge for residential electricity by 4.8pc, pushing the average bill up to €1,139 per year.

As well as its own charge, Bord Gais said it would be passing on a 50pc increase in the public service organisation levy, adding another €10 to the average bill. The new charges come into effect on October 15.

Earlier this month, Bord Gais decided to bump up its gas prices by 8.5pc, while last week Airtricity said it would increase its fees for gas by 8.5pc and 4.7pc for electricity. Electric Ireland has also said it will hike prices.

New data on consumer spending has revealed that just €21.30 is spent on the average shopping trip in the Republic, the lowest in seven years.

The survey, by consumer research firm Kantar Worldpanel, claimed the latest findings were evidence of shoppers adopting a "little and often" approach to grocery shopping.

The grocery market in Ireland has already fallen by 0.6pc in the past year, with price inflation running at 2.3pc, which has resulted in many basic food items becoming more expensive.

Retail Excellence Ireland's chief executive David Fitzsimons said: "Consumer sentiment is not good due to ongoing speculation regarding the upcoming budget."

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