Why you should switch energy supplier this winter - Today FM
It was just last Friday that Electric Ireland announced its second energy price increase of the year and it’s likely more price increases are on the way. Despite the ongoing energy crisis and recent string of price hikes, it is possible to save on energy bills this winter by switching supplier.
Daragh Cassidy, Head of Communications at bonkers.ie, appeared on Today FM to explain why prices are on the rise and the importance of switching energy suppliers this winter.
Listen back to Daragh’s interview or take a look at the main points below.
Why are energy costs on the rise?
There are three main reasons why prices are on the rise.
- The price of gas has skyrocketed over the past few months. It’s gone up by 200-300% and we still generate a huge amount of electricity from burning gas.
- There wasn’t much wind energy produced this summer, as it was quite calm out. This led to a reliance on gas to generate electricity.
- Two big gas-fired power plants are currently out of action and these usually supply 15% of our electricity.
It seems as though anything that could have gone wrong did go wrong and it’s created a perfect storm.
Why are the power plants out of action?
Power plants always go down to be cleaned and for maintenance reasons. However due to lockdown, the cleaning and regular checks of two major power plants were delayed.
The power plants, one in Huntstown in Dublin and one in Whitegate in Cork, would have been down anyway, but because of Covid they have been down for longer.
What kind of increases are we going to see?
The increases will be quite big, to be honest. Some suppliers have raised their prices by between 40-50%. It seems like a huge amount, but once you take into consideration the price of gas at the moment, you can see why suppliers are increasing prices.
On average, households are looking at paying an additional €400-500 on average for gas and electricity this winter. Some suppliers though have announced price hikes that will actually add around €700-800. This is a huge amount and it will hit people hard when they get their winter bill.
Recent bills have been based on summer usage, so people haven’t really seen the impact of the increases yet.
Why should people switch supplier?
People need to remember that the best deals are almost always reserved for new customers.
In Ireland, we have this sense of loyalty to suppliers or we think that the longer we’ve been with a supplier, the better the deal we’ll get. Sometimes we can get a decent retention offer, but the vast majority of the time you’ll have to switch to get the best deals. This is the same across all industries.
There are 14 energy suppliers at the moment, so there’s lots of competition. They all offer really big discounts to new customers for one year, to entice them to switch. These discounts can be from 30-40% off standard rates, so it’s a big amount. That could save you around €500 a year. This will help to offset the increases.
Depending on who you’re with and your circumstances, you could actually end up saving a bit after switching to offset the price increases. However, most people will likely pay more but by switching the impact can be lessened.
How can you switch?
It’s easy to switch because there’s only one gas network and one electricity network. You’re not getting new pipes installed or wires changed, all you’re doing is changing your supplier.
Switching takes about 5 minutes to do online and in a week or two, your new supplier will write out to you with all the details of your new account.
Using our comparison tool you can view a range of tariffs from all suppliers in Ireland. All the charges are broken down under each deal. You can see the price per kilowatt-hour, the PSO levy charge, the carbon tax charge, the VAT, etc.
To switch you only need to have a few things at the ready:
- A GPRN number if you’re switching gas and an MPRN number if you’re switching electricity. These can be found on a recent energy bill.
- A recent meter reading.
- A good estimate of how much energy you use. In Ireland, the national average energy consumption is 4,200 kWh for electricity and 11,000 kWh for gas.
- Some personal details, such as your name and bank account information.
You can read our guide on what you need to switch suppliers for further information.
Is the PSO levy set to decrease?
At the start of October, the PSO levy went down by about €30. Before this, it was around €88 per year including VAT and it’s just gone down to around €58.
The reason the PSO levy went down is because energy prices have increased so much.
Compare gas and electricity prices on bonkers.ie
As mentioned above, switching on bonkers.ie is easy and quick. Run a quick search using our energy comparison tool and see what you could save today!
If you’re seeking advice before switching, make sure you take a look at the following articles:
- Here’s an outline of 7 important things to consider when switching energy supplier.
- Switching can seem daunting, but if you familiarise yourself with these 10 important switching terms, the experience will be more straightforward.
- Our list of frequently asked questions about switching energy supplier will help make it as easy as possible for you to switch.
- If you are still in contract and don’t want to pay an early exit fee to switch supplier, consider adjusting your habits around the home to reduce your energy consumption instead. Here are 15 ways to use less electricity and save money and a list of 10 ways that you can heat your home for less this winter.
Let’s hear from you
Have you begun to notice an increase in your energy bills? Would you consider switching to save?