When it comes to energy bill prices rises, it seems the summer is a good time to bury bad news. That’s because many gas and electricity providers increased their prices during August and September knowing that bills are lower during the summer months and consumers wouldn’t feel such an immediate impact from their changes.
However, with Bord Gais now becoming the latest provider to hike its prices – by a whopping 22 per cent – isn’t it time you made the switch to a better deal?
Which companies have raised their prices?
Bord Gais certainly isn’t alone among Irish utilities when it comes to raising prices. It increased its electricity prices by 12 per cent in August; but was followed quickly by Airtricity increasing its electricity prices by 12.3 per cent in the same month.
Further price increases have followed this month. ESB increased electricity prices and standing charges by 14.8 per cent and, as it tracks Bord Gais gas prices, its own gas charges are also likely to leap. Airtricity has increased its gas prices by 21.2 per cent; while the Flogas gas tariff is up by 21.5 per cent.
There is some good news however, because the Irish Government is reducing its Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy. The PSO was introduced a year ago and amounts to €6.20 on your bi-monthly gas bill to help generate the Irish renewable energy industry. However, it is now being reduced by 41 per cent to €3.65.
Is it time to switch?
You might think that with so many companies getting in on the price rise act you might as well stick with what you know. However, the rates offered to new customers are often lower than those who stay with the same supplier year after year so it’s sensible to see what’s available. You may also be on a deal that discounts a percentage off the standard tariff – but this discount expires after a certain time.
Before you switch, consider if you are locked into a fixed contract – if so you should wait for the contract to end unless you want to face penalties. Look whether you are on an urban or rural rate, a day or night tariff, so you can compare deals like-for-like and consider what standard charge you have to pay. If you have both electricity and gas then look which one you use the most of, as you may save money by buying deals separately rather than combined. Also consider if you’re happy to pay bills online by direct debit as these offers are usually cheaper.