No end in sight to ‘shocking’ energy bill hikes

By Pádraig Hoare

Consumer bodies have warned there is “no end in sight” to “shocking” gas and electricity hikes, as Bord Gáis became the seventh firm to raise prices in a matter of weeks.

Bonkers.ie said the move by Bord Gáis will hit far more customers in the pocket than any of its rivals.

From next month, the largest gas supplier in the Republic will increase electricity prices by 5.8%, adding €60 onto the annual bill for an average customer, Bonkers.ie said.

The website said gas prices will go up by 4.7%, which will add almost €37 onto the average annual gas bill.

Bonkers.ie said that although the price hikes announced by Bord Gáis are less than some of the recent hikes, as Ireland’s largest gas supplier, and second largest electricity supplier, the increases will be felt in far more people’s pockets.

The website’s Daragh Cassidy said: “Seven energy suppliers have now announced price hikes in the space of just over a month. It’s shocking.”

The average dual fuel customer will see their annual bills soar by almost €97, according to fellow consumer website Switcher.ie.

Managing director of Switcher.ie, Eoin Clarke said: “Unfortunately, wholesale energy prices have shot up in recent months. As a result, the vast majority of suppliers have implemented at least one price increase since last winter and it signals that there’s no end in sight.”

Bord Gáis follows rivals like Energia, Flogas, SSE Airtricity, Electric Ireland, Panda Power, and Pinergy, in hiking up prices.

Earlier this week, Panda Power announced it will be increasing its electricity standard unit rate by 5.9% next month and their gas standard unit rate by 5% — meaning an increase of almost €80 on a typical dual fuel bill, Switcher.ie said.

Pinergy will hike its electricity prices by 9.38%, adding almost €72 onto the average annual electricity bill.

Mr Clarke said while the squeeze might not be felt immediately, the winter months would prove costly for consumers.

“Almost all Irish energy customers will be impacted by at least one of this summer’s hikes, with higher rates starting to take hold in the coming weeks.

“While heating might be the last thing on our minds while we’re enjoying this rare stretch of good weather, the increases are going to have a big impact when we return to colder weather and the evenings start to close in.”

Despite the industry-wide price hikes, the vast majority of consumers fail to save hundreds of euro a year by switching companies, both Bonkers.ie and Switcher.ie said.

Mr Cassidy said: “As always our advice is to shop around. Energy suppliers invariably save their best rates for new customers, so if you’ve been with your current energy supplier for over a year, look into switching over to a better deal.

“It’s surprisingly quick and easy to do and you can still save hundreds.”

Switcher.ie said the vast majority of entitled customers had not switched, despite the process taking just minutes to complete.

Customers who switched or renegotiated their gas and electricity contracts every year for the last four years could have saved €670 on gas, €1,146 on electricity or €1,417 on their dual fuel costs, according to a report published by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities.


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