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Gas & Electricity

Irish electricity prices fourth most expensive in EU

Irish electricity prices fourth most expensive in EU
Daragh Cassidy

Daragh Cassidy

Head Writer

Prices here are 12.22% above the EU average and trail only Germany, Denmark and Belgium.

Nothing's ever really cheap in Ireland. Whether it's food, drink, transport or rent, everything here seems to be above the EU average. And according to Eurostat, the EU's statistical agency, we can add electricity to the list too.  

The figures

At 24.23 cent per kWh, prices here are 12.22% above the EU average and trail only Germany, Denmark and Belgium. This means the average customer in Ireland is paying an extra €110.88 a year compared to the EU average. Prices in the UK are just below the EU average at 21.22 per kWh.  

Meanwhile prices are lowest in Bulgaria (9.9 cent per kWh), Hungary (11.2 cent) and Lithuania (12.5 cent).

The same report showed Ireland has the eight most expensive gas in the EU at just over 8% above the EU average. Excluding taxes and levies, this rises to fourth, adding an extra €56.10 to the average annual gas bill compared to the EU average.      

Why are prices so high?

This question has been asked many times and there's no one single answer.

However electricity in Ireland is generated mainly by burning gas, coal, and peat, a lot of which has to be imported. And because Ireland is an island on the edge of the Atlantic, there's an added cost in getting it all here.  

What's more, although our level of renewable energy has increased hugely over the past decade, and now accounts for around 30% of our electricity generation, it's still slightly more expensive to produce than non-renewable energy according to most experts.    

What about tax?

Believe it or not, energy is one of the few products where Irish consumers are taxed relatively lightly compared to the EU average. While taxes and environmental levies such as VAT and the PSO levy make up around 20% of the final price paid for electricity by consumers in Ireland, it's almost 40% on average in Europe.    

This means that when you look at the net price of electricity that suppliers here charge - by excluding government taxes and charges - prices in Ireland are actually the most expensive in the EU at 49.48% higher than the EU average!  

This means that if the Government were to increase taxes and levies on electricity to bring us into line with the EU average or to try meet environmental goals, consumers would be faced with the highest electricity prices in Europe by far. 

What can you do?

As we head into winter, heating and electricity costs are understandably a concern for many people.

However if you are looking for better value or are struggling with your energy bills then the simple solution is to look at switching energy supplier.

There are huge discounts available to those who switch with unit prices as low as around 15 cent per kWh on offer for an entire year. This would make your electricity the ninth cheapest in the EU – on a par with Latvia and Slovakia! It’s quick and easy to switch and can all be done online in the space of a few minutes and will save the average customer around €400 a year. However if you live in a poorly insulated house or use solely electricity for your heating, your savings will be even greater! 

Use our energy price comparison service to see what you could save and make the switch today.

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