“Put the heat on energy firms to pass on savings”

FAMILIES can shave up to €300 off their annual energy bills with one phone call, the Irish Sun has learned – by Michael Doyle

Wholesale gas and electricity prices have been falling around the world — but these decreases have not been passed on to consumers here.

Now Simon Moynihan, from price comparison site Bonkers.ie, claims Irish homeowners can save up to €300 a year by picking up the phone and switching provider.

He told the Irish Sun: “Consumers can save about €25 a month if they switch. This is basically from introductory sign-up offers. All the providers have them.

“But you need to be pro-active and go looking for these decreases.”

And Mr Moynihan advised punters to tell their supplier that, as a good customer, they “deserve” a discount.

He added: “They will try to accommodate you then, especially if you threaten to switch for a cheaper deal elsewhere.”

Wholesale gas prices are down 27 per cent compared with 2013, while on Tuesday, a barrel of crude oil tumbled to a six-year low of $45.

The warmer weather has also been a factor. However, Ireland has the fourth most expensive electricity in the EU, while our gas prices are 22 per cent higher than in the UK, according to a report by Eurostat last May.

Energy suppliers here no longer have to apply to the Commission for Energy Regulation when looking to change their prices.

But the CER has called on them to pass on the benefits of their lower costs.

Economics lecturer at University College Cork Seamus Coffey revealed that it is now cheaper to generate electricity, while imported gas has also become less costly, resulting in the large wholesale price falls.

And Fianna Fail energy spokesman Michael Moynihan said:

“While there are many factors that affect the retail price of electricity — including the level of competition in generation, labour costs, taxation policy and the level of investment in infrastructure — wholesale commodity prices are undoubtedly the biggest single factor.

“When wholesale gas prices were rising in 2011 and 2012 this was cited as a reason for very significant increases in the cost of electricity and gas sanctioned by the Commission for Energy Regulation.

“The opposite forces are now at work in the marketplace and consumers should be reassured that they will see a significant fall in their bills in 2015.”

Fine Gael TD and Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communication, John O’Mahony, also called for price decreases.

He said: “I propose to raise this issue at the Oireachtas Committee and would like the energy regulator and energy companies to explain their position.”

My View by Joanne Daly vayu Energy Analyst

AS a result of warmer than expected weather, gas demand in Europe has been lower than average in 2014.

This has contributed to strong stock-piling, boosted by significantly increased shipments of liquefied natural gas from the likes of Qatar.

In spring 2014, prices were down on average 32 per cent year on year and declined further during the summer months.

But further political instability in Ukraine could push up prices.

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