Energy prices, better broadband & bank accounts - Community Radio Kilkenny City
In recent months consumers in Ireland have been hit by a spate of energy price increases, with some suppliers increasing their prices three times so far this year.
Our Head of Communications, Daragh Cassidy, appeared on Community Radio Kilkenny City to discuss the reasons behind the energy price increases and the impact they will have on household bills. He also discussed ways to save money on additional household bills, so that you don’t end up overpaying.
Here’s an outline of the main points discussed by Daragh in the interview
Why are energy prices increasing?
There are three main reasons why energy prices are on the rise:
- Around 60-65% of our electricity still is generated from burning gas and coal in particular and the price of fossil fuels on international markets has been increasing a huge amount over the past few months. This is partly due to supply and demand, but also as the world economies have reopened, there’s been a lot of supply chain bottlenecks. This puts upward pressure on prices.
- The level of wind output has been lower than usual as well. According to the World Climate Service, June and July of this year was one of the least windy periods since 1960 in parts of the UK and Ireland.
- Some power plants have also been out of action. Power plants regularly go down for maintenance and cleaning but in recent months we’ve seen more out of action than usual, partly due to Covid. They’ve been out of action for longer than usual too. This includes two of the main gas-powered plants, Huntstown in Dublin and Whitegate in Cork. This means there’s less electricity being supplied to the grid, which puts pressure on prices.
How will these price hikes impact energy bills?
So far practically every energy supplier has increased prices once, with most having increased them twice. Some suppliers have even increased prices three times. It’s quite unprecedented.
When you take all price increases into account, it will add an additional €300 or more to the average annual energy bill. This will have a significant impact on people this winter.
How can consumers get the best value?
There are two main ways to save on energy bills.
Firstly, consumers can look at ways they can reduce energy consumption around the home. For example, make sure you don’t overfill the kettle, turn off lights, unplug appliances, switch to LED lightbulbs, etc.
The easiest way to save though is for consumers to look at switching energy supplier. All the energy suppliers offer big discounts for the first year, sometimes up to 40% or more off the standard rate.
If someone switched, they could save more than €500 a year on their energy bill, which would more than offset the price increase we’ve seen so far.
Here’s a list of what you need to switch energy suppliers.
Loyalty doesn’t pay when it comes to energy suppliers. You can always move back to your existing supplier in a year or two and you’ll likely get a discount when you move back.
What to consider when switching energy suppliers?
Price is the main factor to consider, but you might want to consider customer service too.
In general energy suppliers tend to have good customer service, unlike a lot of broadband providers. You can have a look at reports from the Commission for Regulation of Utilities which detail complaints made to suppliers.
Some suppliers have rewards schemes that can be quite good. Electric Ireland has a deal with Supervalu. If you get a SuperValu reward voucher for €5, that can double up and actually get €10 off your energy bill. Tesco and Bord Gáis Energy have a similar deal. Depending on where you shop, this could be something to take into account.
Consumers can also save money on their broadband too.
With broadband, you need to be careful of the quality of service. Not all suppliers offer the same speeds. The network that broadband suppliers are using will determine the speed of the broadband.
Where possible, it’s recommended that people go for a pure fibre connection, which is where a fibre optic cable runs all the way into your home. The good news is that fibre broadband has never been more available.
TV and broadband packages can add up and you could end up paying over €100 per month, so switching and availing of a new customer discount is a good idea. Ask yourself if you need the added extras and make sure you’re not paying for a service that you don’t need or use.
It’s easy to find the best broadband deal to suit your needs at bonkers.ie. Use our broadband comparison tool to review all of the options available in your area in just a few clicks.
If you’re considering switching broadband, make sure you take a look at some of the most common questions we get asked about the switching process.
The biggest bill you can save on is likely to be your mortgage. We have the second or third highest mortgage rate in Europe, but there is value to be had by switching.
If someone has around €250,000 left on their mortgage and were paying a rate of 4-4.5%, they could save between €200-€300 a month by switching to a cheaper mortgage provider. Despite Ulster Bank and KBC announcing their planned exits from Ireland, there’s still been a lot of competition in the mortgage market over the last few months.
Newer lenders, such as Avant Money, Finance Ireland and ICS Mortgages, have been offering really low rates. There are rates as low as 1.95% on offer at the moment and some suppliers will even pay the switching fees.
The legal fees associated with switching mortgages can put people off, however many banks now offer cash incentives to those looking to switch. Learn more about switching legal fees and which banks will pay them for you in this blog.
Student bank accounts
With the return to college just around the corner, many students will be looking to open bank accounts. As KBC and Ulster Bank are leaving, there isn’t as much choice as there used to be, but there are still good options available.
Take a look at our blog on who is offering the best student account in 2021 to learn about loans, overdrafts, credit cards, features and the freebies that banks use to sign up students.
It’s important to note that the providers that have the best student account tend to have the most expensive standard account.
Get in touch with us
Have you switched energy or broadband providers? Did you notice any significant savings? We’d love to hear from you!