Electric Ireland today became the second energy supplier to announce price increases this week. Electric Ireland customers can expect gas prices to go up by 8.5% and electricity prices to increase by 5.9% per year.
These price increases, which will take effect on October 1st, will mean an additional €71 on gas bills and €65 on electricity bills for customers on Electric Ireland’s Standard price plans. Average households can now expect to pay around €1,181 per year for electricity and €961 per year for gas.
Electric Ireland says that they had no option but to increase electricity prices. General Manager Liam Molloy said that increased transmission costs, an imminent increase in the PSO levy and a weak euro have all contributed to the price increase.
Electric Ireland’s price increases follow the announcement from the energy regulator earlier this week that they were granting an 8.5% gas price increase to Bord Gais to take effect on October 1st. Bord Gais blamed a falling Euro for its gas increase. Electric Ireland has mirrored the gas price hike, and as predicted here on bonkers.ie, has also increased electricity prices.
Electric Ireland boss Liam Molloy said “We regret that we have to increase our electricity prices at this time. We are acutely aware of the financial pressures facing our customers and we have done all we can to minimise the increase”.
A report by Charlie Weston in the Irish Independent this week estimates that more than 300,000 energy customers are now in arrears or having difficulty paying their bills. These price increases are likely to force more customers into arrears, despite efforts by energy companies to install pre-payment meters and put customers on payment plans.
Customers on Electric Ireland’s cheaper discounted plans and dual-fuel deals will also see prices go up, and households with a gas and electricity supply could expect to pay as much as €22 more per bi-monthly bill.
Why are prices going up again?
On Tuesday 4th September, Bord Gais received permission from the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) to increase gas prices by 8.5%. Bord Gais is Ireland’s only regulated gas supplier, so when they want to increase prices they need to explain why price changes are necessary.Bord Gais said the main reason they needed to increase prices was because the Euro is falling in value against Sterling, Ireland imports 90% of its gas and most of that comes from the UK. They are paying more, so they are passing that on to households.
When Bord Gais increases gas prices, all other suppliers typically increase gas prices by exactly the same amount. Today Electric Ireland increased prices by 8.5%, Flogas and Airtricity are sure to do the same in the coming days.
To make matters worse, gas is the predominant fuel used to make electricity in Ireland so when gas prices go up, electricity prices inevitably go up too.
So what can you do?
Electric Ireland is the second supplier to increase prices, but they won’t be the last. Airtricity and Flogas are sure to follow with similar hikes in the coming weeks, and Bord Gais still has to announce an electricity price increase. So everyone is going to be paying more.
However, the best way to keep higher priced suppliers in check not to pay the highest prices. So, figure out who’s cheapest for you and switch. It’s really that simple. It’s only when you show that you’re willing to move for a better deal that suppliers offer better deals. In Ireland we’re lucky because switching is very easy and it only takes one short application and a couple of weeks to change suppliers. No new pipes, wires or meters are needed. You’ll just get a bill from a new company.