More than one million gas and electricity consumers will have to pay more for their energy from Monday. Electric Ireland, the country's largest supplier of electricity, is to raise prices by 4% while its smaller competitor, PrePayPower, will be charging customers an extra 3.9%.
For Electric Ireland customers, the increase will add around €38 a year (including VAT) to the average electricity bill and €30 a year (including VAT) to the average gas bill. PrePayPower customers will see their annual electricity and gas bills increase by around €50 and €35 respectively.
The increases come on the back of further price increases from both suppliers last year which added well over €100 to the average annual energy bill.
Electric Ireland has just over 1.1 million electricity customers and around 140,000 gas customers. PrePayPower has around 140,000 electricity customers and 40,000 gas customers. The price of energy on wholesale markets still remains elevated compared to last year, meaning further increases can’t be ruled out.
"Though they are at the lower end of what we’ve become accustomed to, they still come on the back of large increases last year, meaning customers are paying hundreds more for their energy compared to a few years ago,” said Daragh Cassidy, head of communications at bonkers.ie. Mr Cassidy said customers have three main options: switch supplier, reduce energy consumption and improve energy efficiency.
“Switching suppliers is the quickest and easiest way to save money.
"That's because energy suppliers offer whopping discounts of up to 40% to new customers. Another way to lower energy bills is to consume less. Customers can do this by figuring out which appliances in their home use the most energy and then looking for ways to reduce their consumption.
Installing LED lightbulbs, which use up to 90% less energy than a standard light bulb, will save customers money too”, he said.
Consumers could also examine other ways to make their home more energy efficient - such as insulation and solar panels.