By Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor
AN energy supplier is to offer discounts of up to 18pc on electricity in a move that will mean savings of €100 a year for a typical family.
The new discounts -- from Airtricity -- come as homeowners face a tough winter of higher fuel costs thanks to price hikes across the board.
On Saturday, all four gas suppliers pushed up their prices by 21pc, while electricity has been hiked by all of the three suppliers to homeowners in the past two months.
The rises mean the average family has been hit with electricity prices rising by around €130 a year, and gas going up by €150 over 12 months.
Bord Gais, Airtricity, ESB and Flogas all pushed up gas prices on Saturday, while ESB, Airtricity and Bord Gais have upped their electricity prices by between 12pc and 15pc in the past two months.
Now Airtricity is attempting to snap up more consumers hit hard by the higher tariffs by offering discounts on electricity for those prepared to sign up a two-year contract.
The new offer will ease some of the higher costs being imposed by hikes from all energy suppliers -- but even with the discount, fuel costs are likely to be higher this winter than last thanks to the recent hikes.
The company is also offering savings for those who sign up for both gas and electricity, the Irish Independent has learned.
Today, Airtricity will announce savings of up to €100 for a family on electricity, and another €80 a year on gas.
But the catch is that anyone availing of the new discounts will have to sign up for between one and two years.
And to benefit from the full discounts, customers must also pay by direct debit and opt for online billing.
The fee for breaking the contract is €35 per fuel, per year, which includes VAT.
This means that if a customer chooses a two-year dual-fuel product, and leaves in year one, the break-fee will be €140. If they leave in year two, the break fee will be €70.
The new Airtricity Home Electricity Saver offers a discount of 16pc for the first year, and 8pc saving on standard unit rates.
This works out as a saving of €102 for the first year on the ESB ValueSaver tariff. Savings of €86 can be made for those who sign up for the second year.
The new Dual Saver Options 24, for both gas and electricity, works out at up to €108 cheaper than rivals ESB and Bord Gais in the first year.
Simon Moynihan of comparison site Bonkers.ie said: "Airtricity's new two-year Dual Fuel Saver Options are the cheapest bundles in the market at the moment and offer good prices."
But Mr Moynihan warned that the unit rates were not fixed, which meant that prices could change at any time.
"Dual fuel contract deals like these are convenient and offer good value, but contract shy-customers can still save at least as much without signing up to any long-term deals," he said.
- Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor