Energy prices: Households urged to submit meter readings ahead of hikes 

Energy prices: Households urged to submit meter readings ahead of hikes 

A number of suppliers are set to hike their prices in October. 

Households across the country are being urged to submit meter readings this weekend ahead of further price hikes from Bord Gáis Energy, Electric Ireland and other major suppliers. 

ESB Networks and Gas Networks Ireland try to read household meters every few months to record how much energy has been used, however between readings, or if a meter cannot be accessed, they use an estimate — which can lead to energy customers being charged more in the long run. 

This happens because estimates are not always accurate — sometimes suppliers underestimate usage — and then the supplier will bill you for the actual units used at a later date, however, they will do so at the most up-to-date price. 

That means that if you are billed for units used after further price hikes come in, you will end up paying more. 

The Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has said that 52% of electricity customers and 46% of gas customers have not submitted a reading of their own over the past 12 months. 

Daragh Cassidy of bonkers.ie, a supplier switching site, has urged energy customers to take action.

“Unless you’re providing a regular meter reading to your energy supplier, some of your gas and electricity bills will be based on an estimate of your usage, which may or may not be very accurate. This means you could end up overpaying for energy you haven't used. Or even worse, end up underpaying and then be hit with a big arrears bill in a few months’ time when your supplier eventually finds out," he said. 

Mr Cassidy pointed to the amount of price hikes that are due to come in from multiple suppliers: "Some suppliers have announced price increases of close to 50% over the past few weeks which will come into effect in the first week in October. 

This means households could end up ‘backpaying’ for some of their energy at much higher rates unless they submit an up-to-date meter reading.

“So I’d really encourage all households to submit a reading to their supplier as soon as possible. It can usually be done online or through an app. Or as a last resort, you can call your supplier and provide the reading over the phone," Mr Cassidy added. 

Customers with a smart electricity meter which has been activated do not need to worry about submitting readings, as the meter provides updates to their supplier. 

Electric Ireland has recently announced an increase of 38% to its standard unit rate of electricity and 47% to gas which will come into effect on October 1. Increases from SSE Electricity will come into effect on the same day. 

Bord Gáis Energy also announced an increase of over 45% to its standard unit rate of electricity and 48% to gas which will come into effect on 2 October.

Energia and Flogas will implement increases later in the month.

The increases from all suppliers will affect around 2 million electricity customers and around half a million gas customers.

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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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