Electric Ireland’s latest price increase - C103

Image audioImage Electric Ireland’s latest price increase - C103

One of Ireland's leading energy supplier's, Electric Ireland announced that it will be increasing the price of its electricity for customers from October 1st.

The planned price increase comes at the same time that the new and increased Public Service Obligation levy (PSO) comes into effect, not good news for already cash-strapped consumers.

Our Head of Communications at bonkers.ie, Daragh Cassidy joined John Paul McNamara on C103 to discuss the news from Electric Ireland.

Here’s an outline of the main points discussed by Daragh in the interview.

Why is Electric Ireland increasing its prices?

Electric Ireland is increasing electricity prices by 3.4%. The company is blaming wholesale operation charges for the price increase.

Electric Ireland is a supplier of electricity but it’s charged to use the actual electricity grid. Those operation charges have seemingly increased and Electric Ireland is saying that it’s forced to pass on these charges to consumers. 

It’s somewhat outside Electric Ireland’s control, but you could argue that they could absorb the 3.4% price increase. Even though the price of the wholesale operation charges is increasing, the price of fossil fuels has fallen recently. 

This charge will affect all suppliers, so we may see some of the other competitors follow suit over the next few weeks.

Shop around

As with any other utility, shopping around and switching energy suppliers always saves you money. 

These businesses don’t reward loyalty and in Ireland, there’s a feeling among consumers that we’ll get a better deal or the best rate. In fact, it’s usually the opposite and the loyal consumers end up being the ones getting ripped off.

There are 13 energy suppliers in Ireland at the moment, so there’s never been more choice for consumers. Switching energy is so simple. It can be done online in the space of a few minutes and there’s very little paperwork involved.

People at the moment who switch suppliers could save around €400 a year on their energy bills, which would more than offset the increase in price that we’ve seen Electric Ireland announce.

You can use our energy comparison tool to compare the best deals today across all energy suppliers nationwide. It’s quick and easy!

Early exit fee

We would advise you to wait until your contract, which is usually 12 months, is up before switching. If you leave your contract early, you’re usually charged €50 per fuel. 

Having said that, sometimes savings can be so big that you’d still save money even after paying the exit fee.

Bank charge changes

Bank of Ireland has announced a new €6 monthly fee. With this charge, most customers will likely end up paying less, but it does depend on how you use your account.

Bank of Ireland used to have a range of 26 individual charges, which were for making cash withdrawals, making contactless payments, etc. All of these charges could really add up. Some customers would have been charged €20-30 a quarter. 

The bank has amended this fee structure and replaced it with a €6 flat monthly fee. Regardless of how much you use your account, this is what you’ll be charged.

Even under the new fee structure, Bank of Ireland’s offering isn’t very competitive, so you can always look at switching. 

Will banks start charging more for contactless payments?

There is concern that this could happen, and often that’s how these charges come in.

Usually these kind of services are free at the start and the more you used it and get addicted to it, they bring in a fee. 

At the moment, Ulster Bank charges 1 cent per contactless transaction. Bank of Ireland used to use 1 cent as well, but now will be in the €6 monthly fee.

AIB was planning on bringing in a 1 cent charge as well, but people complained because of Covid and they’ve paused the charge on contactless payments in the meantime. 

Even though Permanent TSB has a €6 monthly fee for its Explore account, the bank will actually pay you for using your card in store or online, up to a maximum of €5 a month.

Banking switching rates

We have a very low banking switching rate in Ireland. 

Statistically you’re actually as likely to switch your husband or wife over the course of your life as you are to switch your current account.

Banks are aware of this and it’s part of the reason why we get particularly low value with banking products.

There is a switching code in place though. Around 7-8 years ago, the Central Bank of Ireland introduced a switching code of conduct that banks need to follow to make the process as streamlined and as smooth as possible.

Depending on how you use your current account and depending on who you switch to, you could save yourself around €100-150 a year. 

Digital-only banks

Revolut now has over 1 million customers in Ireland, which is huge for a market as small as Ireland. N26, which is a German bank, has around 200,000 customers here.

They’re going from strength to strength and they offer great value. They have few fees and a great mobile app. 

As online-only banks, they don’t have any high street presence or physical banks, so people should keep this in mind. 

Some people are starting to close their original bank accounts in favour of these digital-only bank accounts. This is part of the reason why we’re seeing banks here react to changes in technology suddenly.

Switch current accounts today

What do you think of the changes to Bank of Ireland’s fee structure?

You can use our current account comparison service to quickly and easily compare different current account features and charges from all of Ireland’s main banks. 

Check out our guide on how to switch current accounts for further information if you’re interested in switching.

We also recently wrote a piece on who is offering the best value current accounts in 2021, making it easier to evaluate your options.

If you have any questions on Electric Ireland’s price increase or the changes to Bank of Ireland’s current account fees, we’d be happy to help!

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