By Charlie Weston
Energy suppliers have been called on to reduce their prices after Bord Gáis cut its rates for the third time in 18 months.
Former semi-state company Bord Gáis is to cut its electricity and gas prices from the start of October in a move that will save a family almost €50 a year, and €20 on gas bills.
Some 650,000 households will benefit from the reduction.
Bord Gáis Energy has 315,074 residential gas customers and 333,574 electricity customers. The firm will reduce its electricity unit price by 5pc, while its gas unit rate is to fall by 2.5pc.
Bord Gáis Energy managing director Dave Kirwan said the firm was trying to help its customers keep costs down.
"For most of the past five years our customers have paid the lowest standard electricity and dual-fuel unit rates in Ireland and this announcement means they will continue to do so this winter," Mr Kirwan said." We can't control every part of the cost of energy but we promise to do our bit to lower prices when we can."
There have been calls for other suppliers to cut their rates, as wholesale gas prices are down 35pc. Simon Moynihan of price comparison site Bonkers.ie said more suppliers should now reduce their prices.
"With wholesale electricity prices down 27pc and wholesale gas prices down 35pc over the last year, all suppliers should have scope to cut prices further and we hope that others will follow Bord Gáis Energy's lead in the coming months," Mr Moynihan said.
He said the best deals were generally only available to customers who either switched or asked for better deals, with savings of €360 available to customers who switched from standard plans to the best deals.
The new reduction will partly offset a rise in the levy on electricity, put in place to subsidise electricity generated from wind and peat, and to support security of electricity supply.
The PSO (public service obligation) levy is due to rise from €60 a year for all households to €72 from October. Once value added tax (Vat) is applied, the PSO levy rise will be almost €14, to €82 a year.
Mr Moynihan of Bonkers.ie said the best deal for a household that uses both electricity and gas was from SSE Airtricity. Its dual-fuel offer costs the average family around €1,758 a year.
The cheapest electricity supplier is also SSE Airtricity, at an average cost of €926 a year. But this is only available for sign-up through internet comparison sites. Flogas is the cheapest gas supplier.