By Paul Kelly
Consumer Affairs Editor
ALMOST half a million households will feel the pinch this winter after Airtricity announced that it is to increase its prices by up to 21% in the coming weeks.
The State's third largest energy supplier yesterday revealed that its 482,000 customers that electricity prices will go up by 12 per cent while gas bills are expected to rise by 21 per cent.
From next month, average annual electricity bills will go up by €120 while the yearly gas bill will increase by €130 from October 1. Airtricity blamed the changes on steep rising costs of gas and electricity on the international markets.
The rises come weeks after Bord Gais put up its electricity rates by 12 per cent. A rise of 22 per cent in its gas bills is expected to be confirmed by the energy regulator.
Airtricity's CEO Kevin Greenhorn said: "Unfortunately there has been a significant increase in wholesale energy prices, and while we have done our best to absorb these costs we can no longer do so."
He said this would be the firm's first price hike - which will see customers pay around €984 for electricity and €824 for gas - since it began supplying households in 2008.
Simon Moynihan, of price comparison website bonkers.ie, said customers should not rush to switch as he expected ESB Electric Ireland and Flogas to revise their prices soon.
Both have been waiting to see what rises their competitors unveil first.