A combination of an increase in the price of electricity by Electric Ireland and Prepaypower as well as a 130% rise in the PSO levy will see almost €90 a year added to most people’s bills.
Since March many of us have been working from home almost full-time due to the Covid pandemic. And while it comes with many benefits, there is one big disadvantage to being at home so much, particularly as we move into the colder winter months: higher energy bills.
Whereas usually there would be no one at home for almost half the day, the reality of Covid-19 means there’s probably going to be a lightbulb on, a computer whirring or a kettle being boiled almost 24/7 now. And while the longer evenings and warmer days that summer brought helped mitigate the effects of this somewhat, people will really start to notice things over the coming weeks as we head into winter.
So the last thing people probably want to hear is that from 1st October higher energy bills are on the way for everyone due to a rise in the PSO levy. And in more bad news, customers of Electric Ireland (and also customers of Prepaypower from 4th October) will also also have to contend with an electricity price increase.
What is the PSO levy?
The PSO levy, or Public Service Obligation levy, is a Government levy that is charged to all electricity customers in Ireland. The money collected from the PSO levy is now solely used to support the renewable energy sector in Ireland (having previously been used to support the peat sector too).
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) sets the level of the PSO levy every year, which runs from 1st October until 30th September.
The levy for last year was €38.68 a year including VAT but will rise to €88.80 (inc. VAT) for the 2020/21 period. A 130% increase.
As well as an increase in the PSO levy, customers of Electric Ireland, the country’s biggest electricity supplier, will also have to contend with a 3.4% increase in the unit price of their electricity, which will add around €35 a year to the average annual bill. This comes into effect on the same day as the PSO levy increase.
Meanwhile customers of Prepaypower will be faced with a price rise of 2.9% - due to come into effect on 4th October.
In both cases the suppliers cited increased electricity network operating costs as the main reason for the price hikes.
Beat the price hikes - switch and save
Businesses seldom reward loyalty and if you want to be on the best deal you have to shop around regularly. You can’t presume that just because you’ve been with a particular supplier for several years that they’ll return the favour with cheaper prices. If anything it’s the opposite. This applies to all household bills but particularly energy.
That’s because energy companies all offer really great introductory rates to those who switch to them. However these discounted rates expire after 12 months. This means if you don’t shop around and switch again after your 12 months are up you’ll be bumped onto the supplier’s far higher standard rates and will end up paying far more each year for your gas and electricity.
Discounts of over 40% are now available to those who switch, meaning you could save yourself around €400 a year just by switching. However if you live in a poorly insulated home or in a home with more than three bedrooms, your savings are likely to be even more!
At a time when energy usage in the home has probably never been higher due to more of us working and socializing at home, it’s really important that people switch supplier regularly to ensure they’re getting the very best value.
How to switch
To switch energy supplier you’ll need your MPRN for electricity and your GPRN for gas. Both these numbers help identify your property on the electricity and gas networks and will be marked on any recent bill. Your MPRN and GPRN are attached to the fixed location of your home and not to your supplier or you personally. So even if you switch energy supplier your number will never change.
You’ll also need to provide a recent meter reading. It also helps if you have a rough idea of how much energy you use a year, either in kWhs or in euro, as well as the name of the energy plan you’re currently on. This helps us give you as accurate a savings estimate as possible.
You should also ensure you’re still not in contract otherwise you could be charged an early exit fee. You should also ensure any arrears on your account have been cleared as this could hinder the switch.
Once you have this info to hand just head over to our energy price comparison page and start your switch. It only takes a few minutes and will save you a pretty penny. And in these uncertain times, who wouldn't like some more money back in their pocket?
And if you have any questions, check out our FAQ guide on switching energy supplier.