How to beat rising energy costs
Will things improve and what can people do to save money on their bills?
Our Head of Communications, Daragh Cassidy, appeared on Tipp Mid West to discuss how you can beat rising energy costs.
Listen back to the interview above, or take a look at the main points discussed in the interview below to find out.
Are we in a time of unstable energy prices?
It’s a tough time to be an energy customer right now.
When did these price increases start?
In 2021 there were difficulties with supply chains due to Covid and a lack of wind output for renewable energy which made prices rise.
Then when the economy was recovering, the conflict in Ukraine caused prices to skyrocket.
We are living in uncertain times and energy prices have never been higher.
Is renewable energy far away for Ireland?
Ireland has huge potential for renewable energy due to its exposure to wind and even sun in the warmer months.
However, people need to remember that renewable energy is not cheap, there is a huge cost to get the infrastructure for renewable energy built.
If anything, renewable energy may cause prices to increase at first to cover the building cost, with prices only becoming cheaper in 20 or 30 years.
How bad are these price increases?
Electric Ireland’s recent price increase has added around €300 to gas and €220 to electricity bills for customers.
Adding that to the November increase by Electric Ireland, customers are looking at a €700 or €800 increase for gas and electricity per year.
Some suppliers' price hikes over the past 18 months have even resulted in more than a €1,000 price increase.
When winter comes around later this year, we can expect customers to feel the real impact of these price increases.
What advice does bonkers.ie have for customers?
Compare and switch suppliers.
Prices might be going up across the board, but there are still first-time buyer discounts of 20% to 40% available and switching is still worthwhile.
Also, look into how you can use less energy at home. Make sure you do things like switch off the lights and appliances at home when you’re not using them.
You can discover our top energy-saving tips in our blog on 15 ways to use less electricity and save money.
Finally, see if there are any government supports available to you such as the household benefits package and winter fuel allowance.
Could the Government be doing more to help?
The Irish Government currently receives €300 - €400 per year in VAT from each energy customer.
VAT is levied on the net price of energy and if that price goes up, the VAT does too.
So in terms of solutions, with energy prices so high right now, the Government could reduce the VAT for customers without doing any significant financial damage.
We also know that there are talks in the E.U. about reducing energy VAT from 13.5% to 5% or lower.
Aside from all of this, the Government could issue a second energy sum to customers and look into social welfare measures when the budget plan comes around.
Take a look at this blog to discover more about VAT and why Ireland is so expensive.
What can people do if they’re struggling to pay their bills?
There are a number of support options available.
We advise people to stay on top of their bills and if they’re struggling they should contact their supplier.
Suppliers can arrange a payment plan, give help and advice, and some even have support funds in place.
Suppliers will only cut someone off as an absolute last resort and it is very rare.
With that in mind, it’s still very important to stay on top of your bills and communicate with your supplier.
Do Irish people often switch suppliers?
The switching market in energy is quite active.
The CRU, which is the national energy regulator, recently conducted a report showing that 40% of people hadn’t switched energy suppliers for several years.
That 40% of people are definitely overpaying.
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What do you think about these rising energy costs, will they slow down? Let us know your thoughts today!