According to a campaign by the Environment Ministry aimed at avoiding nasty New Year’s surprises, refueling at Christmas time could cost the average household more than €200 in energy bills.
With families spending more time at home, longer cooking times for large meals, and visiting guests with extra showers, electricity, oil, and gas consumption can skyrocket.
“Energy costs can increase rapidly over time. Household bills could exceed €200,” said energy expert Professor Aoife Foley, who calculated the potential impact.
“We want people to enjoy Christmas, but also to get knowledge and advice on their consumption and costs.”
Some of the additional costs during this period can include cooking a turkey, which can cost up to €3.22 for a four and a half hour roast.
An average roast nut, which takes 45 minutes to heat in the oven, costs about 67 cents and 34 cents to roast vegetables for 25 minutes.
Constant cups of tea can add up, too — it costs 20 cents for 15 minutes of kettle boiling.
Heaters are the most expensive, with a plug-in electric heater and immersion each costing €1.02 per hour.
Central heating is more expensive at €11.20 to €11.40 for five hours of gas or oil heating.
Running a games console costs about 22 cents for three hours, and turning on the festive lights can cost anywhere from €1.45 to €8.42 for eight hours, depending on whether it’s the more efficient LED type or older incandescent bulbs .
Prof Foley urged people to check their radiators and, if possible, turn their thermostat down to 19ºC to save money immediately.
“But staying warm and well over the holiday season has to be a priority for everyone,” she said.
This message was supported by ALONE, the charity for the elderly, which is seeing an increase in calls from people struggling to cover their energy bills.
“Christmas can be a difficult time for older people, some of whom will feel isolated both emotionally and financially at this time,” said Managing Director Seán Moynihan.
“We want to be very clear that older people should not restrict their energy use in any way that could affect their health in the days and weeks to come.”
ALONE staff and volunteers are on-site nationwide and their support hotline remains open from 8am to 8pm daily, including Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day and New Year’s Day.
MABS, the Money Advice and Budgeting Service, also urged people to contact their confidential service if they’re in trouble or worried about their energy bills.
“MABS is pleased to partner with the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications on this campaign,” said spokesman Karl Cronin.
“Christmas can be a very stressful time for households and this year we have seen more and more people turning to our offices for energy bills.”
The ALONE national suThe port number is: 0818 222 024. The MABS hotline will not be operational from December 24th to 28th, but will be operational again on December 29th on 0818 07 2000.
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/how-christmas-can-drive-energy-bills-up-but-staying-warm-and-well-must-be-the-priority-for-everyone-42241218.html How Christmas can skyrocket energy bills – but keeping warm and healthy must be a priority for everyone