Jaws’ famous phrase – “You’re going to need a bigger boat” – comes to mind as the government ponders what kind of lifeboat to send to help consumers and businesses at risk of being engulfed in a biting energy crisis will.
The recent €200 credit on electricity bills and the VAT cut on gas bills just won’t make it this time.
The household has to do a lot more as households, farmers and businesses face a winter of wild and unsustainable energy price hikes.
Electric Ireland, the largest electricity supplier on the market, has just announced its fifth price increase since early last year.
The increases are overwhelming in their magnitude.
Most Electric Ireland customers, particularly families, will struggle with electricity prices rising 27 per cent from next month.
The decision of ESB’s own supplier means an average increase of €446 per year.
The cumulative impact of the state-owned company’s five increases since January 2021 means annual electricity bills have doubled to an average of €2,177. This is according to calculations by Bonkers.ie.
Gas prices are up 37.5 percent this time, adding more than €500 to the average annual bill. The annual average cost of gas now reaches €1,900.
Just last month, Electric Ireland increased its electricity and gas prices.
The company, which has 1.2 million electricity customers, said the international energy crisis continues to affect prices.
There has been an unprecedented increase in wholesale gas, over 700 percent in the last 12 months and more than 200 percent since June 2022 alone.
Electric Ireland’s parent company, ESB, reported that operating profit rose 10 percent last year to €679 million. The dividend to the state rose by more than half to 126 million euros.
Last week, SSE Airtricity announced that it would increase its electricity prices by more than 35 percent and its gas prices by 39 percent from early October.
Anyone who pays electricity and gas at the standard tariff and switches can currently save more than 900 euros a year on average, which takes the sting out of rising prices
The five price increases announced by SSE Airtricity since the beginning of last year mean that customers are paying €1,100 more each year for their electricity.
Annual bills from Airtricity gas customers have increased by €1,000 since the beginning of last year, according to Bonkers.ie.
PrepayPower, which delivers electricity via pay-as-you-go meters, announced double-digit increases earlier this week.
Expect the rest of the suppliers to hit us with hikes in the coming days.
And the cost of heating oil for the 1.5 million households that heat their homes with oil has doubled to nearly €1,400 for 1,000 litres.
Soaring energy bills come at a time when around half a million families with tracker and variable-rate mortgages are facing at least €1,000 in additional annual repayments.
Average annual food prices have risen by almost €700, while diesel and petrol prices have also risen by €700 over the course of a year.
There are two points to note about all of this.
First, the Utilities Regulation Commission (CRU) has no role in price-setting by energy companies — as it does in government policy.
Second, it makes sense to switch providers, even with a series of price increases.
Most suppliers still offer big discounts of up to 30 pieces or more for a whole year to new customers to entice them to switch.
Anyone who pays electricity and gas at the standard tariff and switches can currently save more than 900 euros a year on average, which takes the sting out of rising prices.
If you just switch to electricity, you can save more than 300 euros a year.
Even with some savings from switching, the rising costs will leave many families and businesses financially stranded unless the government puts in a really big bailout.
To you, Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/why-it-still-makes-sense-to-switch-energy-provider-even-as-they-all-put-up-their-prices-41955065.html Why it makes sense to switch energy providers, even if everyone is increasing their prices