Consumers are set to benefit from an energy price war after Electric Ireland announced a 5% cut in residential gas prices writes Eoin English.
The move by one of the biggest players in the energy market comes two weeks after Bord Gáis announced similar reductions in its gas and electricity prices.
Electric Ireland said that its latest cut in residential gas prices — its third in 18 months — is mainly as a result of “favourable adjustments” to the wholesale cost of gas.
The 5% cut is expected to result in savings of almost €40 a year for its residential gas customers, but when combined with the previous cuts, the company said households will see average savings of around €80.
The company claims when the reduced price kicks in on October 1, it will have the lowest priced standard gas rate, and the lowest priced standard dual fuel rates for gas and electricity, in the Irish market.
Electric Ireland’s executive director, Jim Dollard, said they were happy to reduce gas prices again ahead of winter, and fulfil their promise to pass on savings to customers as soon as they become available.
“This announcement means Electric Ireland dual fuel — gas and electricity — customers will have saved €188 through six separate reductions in electricity and gas prices in the last two years. This includes the 6% decrease in electricity unit prices last June,” said Mr Dollard.
Bord Gáis Energy late last month made its third cut to its gas and electricity prices in 20 months.
Its 5% cut in electricity prices and a 2.5% cut in gas prices, which come into effect also on October 1, will save a typical dual fuel household about €67 a year, the company said.
The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), which published a report earlier this year which found more people are switching energy suppliers, and renegotiating better deals with their existing suppliers, said the consumer deal-hunting has helped drive down energy prices.
However, while switching levels increased for electricity customers, there was a decrease in the numbers of consumers switching gas supplier.
The report also found that more than 17,000 electricity customers and just over 4,000 gas customers negotiated a better deal with their suppliers.
Energy costs are affected by the wholesale costs of fuel, which accounts for about a third of the bill, the cost of transmitting the fuel to households accounts for another third, and the rest is made up of taxes and supply charges.
The CER recently approved increases in network costs for electricity, but Bord Gáis has said it will absorb these increases over the winter.
However, a price cut from Energia looks unlikely in the short term. A spokesman said they offer competitive discount rates for customers switching to Energia, and offer their existing customers very competitive retention discount packages.
“Energia will continue to review our products to ensure that we maintain a very competitive position in the market,” he said.
This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner.