Energy provider follows Bord Gais increases while ESB also likely to up prices
By Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor
Wednesday August 17 2011
AIRTRICITY yesterday became the second electricity and gas provider to hike its prices, in a move that will cost an average family €280 extra a year.
And ESB is expected to announce price hikes for electricity and gas customers by the end of the month.
The Airtricity move follows that of Bord Gais, which announced sharp price rises last month.
Electricity supplied by Airtricity to thousands of households will increase by 12pc from September 1, adding around €130 to the average annual bill.
The company's gas prices will jump by 21pc from October 1, adding up to €150 to the annual cost of using natural gas.
Airtricity has around 500,000 gas and electricity customers.
Increases in gas and electricity prices were announced by Bord Gais last month, with subscribers to both services facing a hike of €300 in annual bills.
Now, a household supplied with gas and electricity from Airtricity under its 'Home Energy Bundle' deal will be faced with shelling out at least an extra €280 a year, said Simon Moynihan of comparison site Bonkers.ie.
Airtricity chief Kevin Greenhorn said the price rise was regrettable but this was the first one it had announced since entering the market in 2008.
He blamed wholesale rises in gas prices of 30pc, pointing out that most electricity in Ireand was generated using gas.
The company said electricity customers could expect to pay on average €2.53 extra a week, or €131 a year.
The unit cost and the standing charge will both increase for electricity, but only the unit price will do so for gas.
Customers getting both gas and electricity supplies will pay an additional €5.45 a week or €283 a year, the company said.
Meanwhile, rival supplier ESB said it was not planning any imminent rise, but stressed that there was upward pressure on prices due to gas costs rising on international markets.
However, Mr Moynihan said it was likely ESB would announce similar price rises before the end of this month.
The increases across all providers would push more people into arrears on their utility bills, Mr Moynihan said. It is estimated that some 300,000 homeowners are struggling to pay their gas and electricity bills at present.
The average domestic gas bill is €720 a year, and the average electricity bill is close to €1,000.
ESB was allowed to offer discounts on its electricity prices for the first time in April, after it was judged by regulators to no longer hold a dominant position.
The semi-state company also entered the domestic gas market for the first time in April.
ESB has around 1.2 million domestic electricity customers and around 20,000 domestic gas customers, a spokesman said.
- Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor