Ireland is the third most expensive country in the EU for electricity
Mark Whelan
Staff Writer

Eurostat has just revealed that Ireland has the third highest electricity prices in the EU, at an average price of €24.50 for every 100 kWh used. But there are still ways to make substantial savings.

Just yesterday, the CER revealed that Ireland had the second highest electricity switching rate in the EU in 2015, with over 303,000 customers taking the initiative to change suppliers to avail of lower prices.

This paints the picture of a country in which good electricity deals are being snapped up on a regular basis by savvy customers. However, Eurostat has placed this statistic in a very striking context today by revealing that Ireland has the third highest electricity prices in the EU, at an average of €24.50 for every 100 kWh used.

This makes switching to a better deal seem more like a necessity than an option for households.

Ireland’s high electricity prices

What’s even more telling about Ireland’s electricity prices is that, when taxes and levies are removed from the calculations, Ireland is actually the second most expensive country in the EU for electricity, behind the UK.

And if the Brexit vote goes the way Boris Johnson wants it to, we’ll be bumped up to the unenviable number one spot in the EU for electricity prices.

On average across the EU, 33% of electricity prices are made up of taxes and levies. However, in Ireland, just 19% of the money you pay for electricity goes to the government. So, Enda and co are off the hook on this one, leaving Ireland’s electricity suppliers directly under the spotlight for these high prices.

Prices are falling

However, Eurostat has revealed another statistic that electricity suppliers will almost certainly point to when the inevitable calls for further prices cuts come their way. The statistic is that Ireland had the third largest electricity price decrease in the EU in the second half of 2015, at 3.2%. And this is in a year when electricity prices across the EU actually actually rose by 2.4% on average.

So prices are falling in Ireland, albeit from a high point. But when we consider the fact that, as of April, wholesale electricity prices were down 35% on last year, the price fall is not very surprising.

Another factor behind Ireland’s falling electricity prices is the increased level of competition in the marketplace. There are now seven companies supplying electricity to Ireland’s residential customers, meaning that when one company announces a new discount or price cut, other companies often respond with similar offers. And this is all good news for customers.

How to stop overpaying

The fact that electricity suppliers are now buying wholesale electricity for 35% less than they were last year, and prices for customers have only fallen by 3.2% on average, often triggers loud calls for suppliers to slash their prices. However, it’s vital to note that suppliers are in fact passing on bigger savings than 3.2%, but in the form of discounts for new customers who take a few minutes to switch.

Last year the most expensive standard electricity price in Ireland was €235 more expensive than the best discounted rate available to customers who switched. A startling 1.9 million electricity customers didn’t switch suppliers last year, meaning that, as a nation we paid €455 million more for electricity than we had to.

Right now, there are discounts of up to 26% available to new customers who switch gas and electricity. This is the best way by far to tackle the problem of Ireland’s high electricity prices and avail of substantial savings.