Thousands face the switch to the highest tariffs after the latest operator left the Irish market

Thousands of households are forced to pay the most expensive electricity and gas tariffs as more suppliers flee the Irish market.

anda Power, which has around 60,000 residential electricity and gas customers, appears to be on the verge of exiting the residential supply market.

It would become the latest victim of the energy crisis – three other providers have already pulled the plug in this market.

When energy suppliers drop out, their customers are transferred to so-called “suppliers of last resort”.

This means that they are put on the most expensive “standard tariffs”. These are up to 30 percent higher than the best rates you can get from energy suppliers by taking out an annual contract at a discount.

Any customer whose provider is exiting the market will be encouraged to switch to an existing provider as soon as possible.

Daragh Cassidy of price comparison site said Panda Power is poised to become the fourth supplier to leave the Irish market in a matter of months, after Glowpower, Bright Energy and Iberdrola.

“It’s likely that more suppliers will drop in the coming months,” Cassidy said.

After recent price increases, the average customer was paying around €2,500 a year for their electricity and €2,000 for their gas

A spokesman for the energy regulator, the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU), said it is “working with an energy utility in relation to its participation in the market”.

The huge increase in wholesale energy costs since Russia invaded Ukraine has put resellers like Panda Power under pressure, making it very difficult for them to generate a return.

Only in August did Panda Power increase its electricity and gas prices. Electricity prices rose by 12.7 percent and gas prices by 25.8 percent.

It was Panda’s second price increase this year as it also increased its prices in May.

In the past year, electricity prices have quintupled and gas prices have quadrupled.

After recent price increases, the average customer was paying around €2,500 a year for their electricity and €2,000 for their gas.

The company, which is part of the Beauparc Utility Group, only entered the energy supply business here in 2018.

Beauparc changed hands last year in a deal worth around €1 billion.

Panda’s waste recycling business has imposed double-digit price increases on households this month. Panda Recycling, which has 360,000 private customers, increased its garbage can fees by more than 12 percent and is also increasing its service fees. The company blamed an increase in the cost of diesel to fuel its trucks.

If Panda Power exits the market here, its customers will not lose the offer.

But the CRU will start the “Supplier of Last Resort” procedure, which will see remaining Panda electricity customers transferred to Electric Ireland to ensure their supply is not disrupted. Gas customers will be transferred to Bord Gáis Energy.

Mr Cassidy said the news shattered the populist narrative of imposing a windfall tax on all energy companies.

This proves again that many energy companies are struggling and that any windfall tax needs to be carefully considered and targeted to ensure it doesn’t cause more carnage.

The CRU said it could “confirm that it has worked with a supplier in relation to its ongoing participation in the energy supply market.”

It added: “When a supplier attempts to exit the market, the CRU intervenes in the supplier of last resort process. As part of this process, the CRU receives assurances from the supplier who wishes to stop serving customers and exit the utility market(s), and the CRU makes a decision on whether to involve the suppliers of last resort.

“Through this process, CRU’s goal is to agree on a reasonable timeline to protect customers’ interests in relation to their decision to switch suppliers and to ensure continuity of supply from suppliers of last resort.

“Until these discussions are complete, CRU is unable to provide further details.” Thousands face the switch to the highest tariffs after the latest operator left the Irish market

Fry Electronics Team

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