The CRU’s latest publication has confirmed that most consumers are not on the best energy price plan available to them.
The Irish gas and electricity markets were fully price deregulated in 2014, which raised hopes of more choice and lower bills for households.
So, have those hopes been realised?
Well, yes and no, according to the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities’ latest paper on the state of competition in the market.
The good - there are plenty of suppliers and most offer great customer service
The CRU is relatively happy with the flow of new entrants to the domestic gas and electricity markets since deregulation, stating that “there is a steady state of supplier entry activity to the electricity and gas retail markets”.
Earlier this year, Just Energy became the tenth energy supplier in the domestic market.
When it comes to customer service, it appears that most suppliers are doing a good job.
The most recent count found that there were under 16,000 annual consumers complaints recorded, which is less than 1% of all customers in the market.
The CRU concludes that “the level of consumer service in the electricity and gas retail markets is not an impediment to consumer engagement”.
The not-so-good - most customers are overpaying
Now for the bad news.
Despite the healthy amount of choice in the market, most people are still paying more than they have to for gas and electricity every year.
And, it turns out that 58% of electricity and 53% of gas consumers have never, ever switched suppliers.
If you haven’t switched suppliers in the last 12 months, let alone ever, you’re almost certainly paying more than you have to.
Most suppliers offer substantial discounts to new customers who switch, but these discounts usually expire after a year and you’re placed back on to expensive standard rates.
So, it’s really important to compare prices and consider switching or asking your supplier for a discount every year.
Why do so few people switch?
The CRU’s paper suggests that the biggest barrier to switching could be a poor understanding of prices and deals among households.
The could certainly be the case - in many cases, pricing structures can be tough to understand, particularly when there are discounts involved.
That’s why we list supplier prices in order of exactly how much you’re going to pay over the course of the year on our comparison results page.
If you’re looking to gain a deeper understanding of the energy market, check out our Gas & Electricity Guides, which cover topics such as What is the PSO Levy?, Which Appliances Use the most Electricity? and What is a Budget Plan?.
How to switch and save
It has been a year to forget for Ireland’s energy customers.
However, it has also been a year of big rewards for customers who switch.
A number of suppliers are currently offering €175 cashback to customers who switch, and others are offering discounts of over 25%.
There’s an average of well over €300 to be saved by switching at the moment and process can be completed online in five minutes.
All you need to do so is you MPRN, GPRN and a recent meter reading.
If you’re one of the 58% of electricity customers or 53% of gas customers who have never switched, now is the time to take action and snap up the savings that are available to you.