By Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor
Saturday March 03 2012
ENERGY company Airtricity is to increase the standing charge it imposes on residential electricity and gas customers, blaming a rising level of arrears for the move.
The higher charge will not apply to those who have had pre-payment meters installed after they were unable to meet bills.
Around 65,000 of the company's 600,000 electricity and gas customers are behind on their payments, with 10,000 of those on payment plans where they pay weekly in a bid to get back on track.
The standing charge is the amount a householder has to pay before they use any electricity or gas.
Standing charges for electricity will jump by 15pc to €153.04 a year. For gas, the standing charge will go up by 17pc to €95.15 a year, according to price comparison site Bonkers.ie.
Airtricity imposed a 12.3pc rise on its electricity unit costs and its standing charges last September. And it hit residential gas customers with a rise of 21pc a month later.
The Consumers Association of Ireland described the standing charges increase as outrageous.
Simon Moynihan of Bonkers.ie said: "Customers having both gas and electricity with Airtricity will see their bills go up by €34 per year."
Despite this price increase, Airtricity is still the cheapest dual fuel supplier for customers who haven't switched before, Mr Moynihan said.
- Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor