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Families facing €300 jump in power bills

FAMILIES are facing hikes of €300 a year in their power bills with Bord Gais Energy.

Electricity prices are set to rise between 10pc and 14pc and a gas price increase -- thought to be in the region of 25pc -- will be applied following an application to the Commission for Energy Regulation.

The two rises could see combined electricity and gas bills rise by up to €300 a year.

The news will come as a further blow to householders, tens of thousands of whom are already in arrears.

The hikes will be the first announced by the company in two years following a price war between energy suppliers.



Blame

The electricity increase will take effect from August 1 but gas rises will not change until October, once the energy regulator has sanctioned the move.

Bord Gais Energy is believed to place the blame for the rises on a spike in wholesale gas prices on international markets, which have gone up 30pc in the past year.

Chief executive John Mullins had warned last May that increases were on the cards.

A 25pc jump in gas bills would leave the average customer paying €180 a year more, while the company's electricity customers are facing a more than €120 a year rise. The company has more than 110,000 customers in arrears of two months or more.

More than 430,000 consumers "made the big switch" from the ESB Electric Ireland to Bord Gais Energy for their electricity supply over the past two years, lured by the promise of lower prices.

Bord Gais Energy is obliged to seek permission for the gas price increase as it is in a dominant position in the market but it is free to hike electricity prices as it is only the second largest supplier in that sector.

The hikes are eventually expected to be implemented across all suppliers.

Figures show that Bord Gais Energy lost more than 120,000 customers to rival gas firms since the start of last year.


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