Electricity prices 50% higher now than in 2016

Some electricity and gas customers faced as many as three price hikes in the first nine months of last year, according to a new report by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).

The CRU, Ireland's independent energy and water regulator, noted the increased cost in wholesale electricity and gas prices is having a knock-on effect on customers' pockets, with wholesale electricity prices now 50% higher than they were in 2016.

The report details changes in market shares in the electricity and gas retail markets up to the end of September 2018.

The report details trends in wholesale prices as increases observed in wholesale electricity and gas prices correspond to increases in retail prices. The average wholesale electricity and gas prices for Q1-Q3 2018 are higher than the average prices for 2017 and 2016.

In the first half of 2018, seven suppliers announced price increases for their customers. Four suppliers announced further price increases that were due to come into effect before the end of 2018, with 'wholesale costs and regulated charges' the reason for the hikes, according to the report.

Between January and September 2018, the all-island wholesale electricity price was 32% higher than the price had been during the same period in 2017 and 50% higher than the average price during the same period in 2016.

Wholesale gas prices in September 2018 were 40% higher than they were in 2017 and 58% higher than in 2016.

In September 2018, the least expensive estimated annual electricity bill, based on a standard plan with a typical consumption of 4,200KWhs, was with BeEnergy at €964.59. The least expensive discounted plan was with Energia with an estimated bill of €897.21.

Just Energy provided the cheapest options for gas users on both standard and discounted plans. Based on an annual consumption of 11,000kWhs, these were €749.67 and €699.66, respectively.

In comparison, in 2016, Energia offered the cheapest electricity plans at €770, while Flogas offered the cheapest available gas plans, with discount rates starting at €626.51, based on the same average uses.

The report also shows changes in market share. 2017 was the first time that Electric Ireland controlled less than 50% of the market and that trend continued throughout last year.

While it remains the most popular provider, Electric Ireland's share dropped to 48%. In gas, Bord Gáis remains the biggest supplier, with 45.5%.

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