IF THERE’S one thing certain to end your happy summer feeling, it’s the thought of switching on the heating. With colder nights drawing in shortly it’ll be no time before we’re back to shivering in the woolies.
We’ll also be shuddering at the thought of the bills coming in through the door.
With gas and electricity both going up this autumn, energy costs are getting ever more expensive.
BOrd Gais has applied for a 7.22pc increase to the Commission for Energy Regulation which is almost certain to be approved (last year the CER gave them an extra 1pc over and above what the asked for!) which would mean bills rising by around €60 a year, and all electricity suppliers got the go ahead for a 3.5pc increase in the distribution tariff which will be followed by a further increase if the gas price rises (electricity is mainly produced by gas generators). The PSO levy is also going up.
So now, the average household pays €1,179 for its electricity needs and pays €961 per year for gas. What are hard pressed consumers to do?
There are four suppliers. Electric Ireland (ESB), Bord Gais and Airtricty all supply electricity and gas. Flogas only supplies gas but is very competitive, easily coming out the cheapest in our survey.
Simon Moynihan of Bonkers.ie, a comparison site accredited by the CER, says you can bring costs down a bit by opting for paperless billing and paying by direct debit.
Bundling your energy suppliers is also worth checking out, but doesn’t always save money.
Switching is very easy – nobody needs to come to the house and there are several customer discounts worth asking for.
Check out for you your particular house what the best choice is – if you have an old bill to hand, use the information off it – we agree it’s hard to decipher but it’s worth the effort.
More beneficial though, is saving energy.
Here are our top tips from BER in Ireland:
- Turn down your water heater thermostat to 60 degrees. It’s perfect for bathing/washing and will save €15 per year.
- Use energy saving lightbulbs which will save your pocket €10.50 every year.
- Turn off TVs and computers. It saves up to 60pm of the electricity used for those appliances rather than keeping them on standby.
- Buy A-Rated applicances. The BER ratings go from A to G. Gis for guzzler!
- Tumble driers are ferociously expensive – do try to use the washing line instead!
- Fridges are hard-working appliances. Let leftovers go cold before putting them in the fridge- it won’t have to work so hard.
- Turn your thermostat down by one degree. It will take a whopping 10pc off your bill.