How to mitigate winter energy price increases - East Coast FM

Image audioImage How to mitigate winter energy price increases - East Coast FM

As the weather takes a turn and the winter chill becomes more noticeable, many households will be tempted to turn on their heating to stay warm. However this year we’ll all be paying a lot more due to the ongoing energy crisis. With energy prices on the rise, many consumers are opting to switch energy supplier and save on their winter bills. 

Our Head of Communications, Daragh Cassidy, appeared on East Coast FM to discuss the impact of the inevitable energy price increases. He also answers the questions everyone is asking - why are energy prices increasing so much and how can we save on our energy bills this winter?

Listen back to the interview or take a look at the main points discussed by Daragh below.

Will all consumers face higher energy bills this year?

Absolutely. There’s likely going to be a winter of discontent for energy customers. There’s been a huge number of price hikes over the last few months. 

There are 14 energy suppliers at the moment and altogether they’ve announced over 30 price hikes since the start of the year. Most suppliers have increased prices two or three times, and one or two suppliers have increased their prices four times. 

To put that into context, on average households are looking at paying an extra €400-500 a year for their energy. However, some suppliers have announced such significant increases that people will be paying an additional €700-800 more.

How does this compare to previous years?

Usually every year you might get one price hike announcement. Often if there was a second announcement though it’s because prices would be going down. 

This is unprecedented and we’ve never been in a situation like this before. 

Customers of Bord Gáis Energy are looking at paying an additional €500 more per year, customers of SSE Airtricity are looking at paying an additional €300 more and customers of Flogas and Energia are looking at a hit of €700-800.

Electric Ireland until recently had held out and only increased prices once, which needs to be commended. Customers with Electric Ireland are looking at an increase on average of €150 or so. Electric Ireland will likely increase their prices again within the next few weeks.

Why are energy prices increasing?

There are three main reasons why we’re seeing such a spike in electricity and gas prices. 

  1. Supply and demand - because of Covid-19 there’s now a mismatch between supply and demand. 
  2. Lack of wind output - this means the supply of renewable energy has been reduced so we’ve needed to rely on coal and gas a lot more. 
  3. Power plants out of action - two big gas-fired power plants are out of action at the moment, which usually supply around 15% of our electricity.

You can take a look at this blog for a more in-depth analysis of why energy prices are increasing.

How can we mitigate these increases?

You might be wondering what the point of switching is if every supplier is putting up their prices. However, if you switch you’ll still get a discount on the supplier’s rates, the same way you might get a discount if you switched broadband supplier.

When you switch your energy, you can get a discount of between 30-40% off standard rates with a new supplier. It means you’ll pay less than you would have this year. 

As prices have gone up, everyone is likely to pay more this winter than they did last winter, but by switching you can still save on what you would have paid.

Consumers can also look at the simple ways that they can reduce their electricity consumption at home. For example not overfilling the kettle, tackling draughts, using LED light bulbs, etc. These little things can help save money on your bills over time. 

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) website has great tips on how to use less energy, and so does our own website, 

Take a look at our list of 15 ways to use less electricity and save money to learn more. 

How feasible is retrofitting? 

We talk about the transition to a greener economy, but it’s going to be tough and it’s going to be expensive. Renewable energy is good for the environment, but not so good for the pocket. 

A good, deep retrofit to bring your building energy rating (BER) up from an E to an A or B is not going to be cheap. It can cost tens of thousands. 

Heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular. They’re very good at heating homes and can help you save hugely on your energy bills. The heat pump itself may cost around €10,000 to €15,000 to put in but it only works if you have other work done as well. 

All of this adds up and while you’ll save money over the long run, retrofitting isn’t an affordable option for many people.

If it’s something you’re interested in, take a look at your finance options for retrofitting here and listen to our podcast episode where we discuss everything you need to know about retrofitting.

Prepay electricity

Prepay electricity is relatively popular in Ireland and I understand why some households use it. There’s comfort in not having an extra bill and you don’t need to worry about overspending. 

However, it’s expensive and there are far cheaper options out there. 

Compare energy prices today

Whether you’re looking for dual fuel or single fuel, you can compare tariffs and deals from all of Ireland’s energy suppliers on in just a matter of clicks. With our energy comparison tool, switching has never been easier. 

Before switching, you may want to take a look at some of the following helpful articles and guides:

You can stay up to date with all the latest energy news and top saving tips with our blogs and guides.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about what was discussed in today’s interview or about switching, let us know.

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