By Emma Kennedy
The price comparison website Bonkers.ie is gearing up to be the first website offering a comparison of gas and electricity costs to be accredited by the energy regulator.
In August, the Commission for energy Regulation (CER) set out a framework for accrediting and auditing price comparison websites, with a focus on the accuracy and reliability of the price comparisons available.
A document published by the energy regulator last week revealed that it had "yet to receive an application for accreditation, but has been in contact with interested parties on this matter".
The document added that accreditation of consumer websites would "help provide energy customers with the confidence to use these websites and get the bets tariff".
"The electricity and gas retail markets have seen significant levels of competition in recent years, providing customers with a good choice of energy products," the CER document said.
"In the current era of higher energy prices, the CER encourages all energy customers to take advantage of the competition by shopping around for the best tariff deal."
A spokesman for the CER said tha the body was hopeful that it would receive its first application for accreditation of a consumer comparison website early in 2012, following discussions with the website in question. According to a Bonkers.ie spokesman, the price comparison website will register its application soon.
"Rather than build its own price comparison site, CER wants to oversee alternative ones so it's in a position to say, 'look we've checked the sums on this and it is correct.'" the Bonkers.ie spokesman said.
According to figures from the CER, consumers are quick to switch to an alternative energy provider.
Since early 2009, more than 1.2 million households have switched to an alternative electricity supplier, one of the highest supplier switching rates in Europe.
Almost 200,000 switches have taken place in the gas market since January 2010.