Consumers see bills increase by as much as €805 as 'energy crisis' worsens

Consumers see bills increase by as much as €805 as 'energy crisis' worsens

Some 145,000 Electric Ireland gas customers will see their annual gas bill jump by €58.

A raft of energy price hikes in recent months have seen bills skyrocket by as €805 for some customers, leaving the country in the grips of an "energy crisis".

Some of the biggest suppliers have hiked prices three or four times since the start of the year, with Electric Ireland yesterday becoming the latest to do so.

In the most recent of 31 price hikes from energy suppliers this year, Electric Ireland is increasing the price of its electricity by 9.3% and the price of its gas by 7% from November 1. 

This will add around €108 a year to the annual electricity bill for Electric Ireland’s 1.1m electricity customers, and 145,000 gas customers will see their annual gas bill jump by €58.

Price comparison site Bonkers.ie estimates that yearly utility bills have now risen by €805 for Energia customers, €718 for those with Flogas, and by €540 for customers of Bord Gáis Energy.

Daragh Cassidy, head of communications at bonkers.ie, attributes the hikes to several factors: rising demand for fossil fuels as the world economy opens back up, Covid-related supply chain bottlenecks, unusually low levels of wind output, and the fact that two large power plants in Cork and Dublin remain out of action for maintenance.

“Price increases of this magnitude and frequency are unsustainable. And coupled with recent concerns about potential power outages and pressure demands on the grid, it’s not an exaggeration to say we’re in the midst of an energy crisis,” said Mr Cassidy.

He advised customers to shop around, as the average switcher could save around €500 a year just by changing suppliers.

Consumers have been hit hard in recent months, with the cost of petrol and diesel having increased by 24.8% since this time last year, and further potential rises on the horizon as traffic volumes increase and demand for oil increases. 

Rent and house prices continue to soar, and inflation hit a ten-year high in August, too.

The energy hikes are putting renewed pressure on the Government, coming less than a fortnight before Budget 2022 is announced on October 12. 

While Taoiseach Micheál Martin insists the budget will "protect the lowest income groups and those most impacted by an increase in fuel prices", interest groups are raising concerns as people come under increasing pressure to cover bills. 

Gerry Garvey, regional coordinator for the South West with St Vincent De Paul, says they are seeing an increase in calls from people concerned about rising utility costs.

“We’re quite concerned about the impending rise in utility costs and fuel costs right across the board, and we feel it's going to put even more pressure on a very vulnerable and marginalised community that we support,” he said.

“A lot of them are already struggling to make ends meet, and any increase like that just hits straight into them. Coming into the high fuel season, things can only get worse."

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From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

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