People flock to switch campaign in wake of broadband and energy price hikes

More than 600 people joined a major consumer switching campaign after broadband and energy price hikes were announced over the weekend, writes Conall Ó Fátharta. 

The One Big Switch Campaign said the numbers over the weekend were “a huge outperformance” compared to usual weekend registration numbers.

The campaign has, on average, been adding more than 330 members every day since major broadband and energy retailers announced upcoming price rises.

Four broadband providers and four energy providers rose rates over the weekend. Ireland has the fourth most expensive electricity and third most expensive broadband in Europe.

One Big Switch recently conducted a survey of more than 3,000 people. That found half of all households are spending over 20% of their household income on utilities bills.

Some 90% believe loyalty to utilities providers does not pay, yet just two in three households are either not getting a discount on their energy or are unsure if they are.

One Big Switch director of campaigns David Liston said consumers have options when it comes to fighting price hikes and should join the campaign.

“There’s no doubt about it, price rises across two of people’s biggest bills are going to sting, and they’re certainly unwelcome this close to the Christmas break. However, it must be said that there are still plenty of options for people to fight back.

“I call on Irish consumers not to get angry, but to get even. You need to switch your energy and broadband. Most providers don’t offer the best deal to their customers. Loyalty does not pay. There are great offers available in the market for those who’re prepared to stand up and take responsibility for their spending and shop around,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Health Insurance Authority (HIA) has launched an advertising campaign to encourage policyholders to actively review their current health insurance before renewing.

As many policies are due for renewal around year end, it is recommending holders review their current plan and level of cover by using the HIA website as the comparison may show they can maintain current health cover at a lower cost; or find a more suitable, cost-effective plan.

HIA chief executive Don Gallagher said that, despite the advantages of switching, just a quarter of people take the time to do it.

“If consumers have not reviewed their health insurance over the last number of years, it is possible that they’re currently over-insured and overpaying. There are a large number of products available and, very often, these products provide similar levels of cover at different prices.”

“For anyone looking to make significant savings on their health insurance, we strongly recommend they visit our website to review their current policy and pick the best value plan,” he said.

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