With Energia and Pinergy announcing reductions in customer costs from early October next, the pressure is on the remaining big home energy suppliers, Electric Ireland, Bord Gáis Energy, and SSE Airtricity ESB to reduce their prices before the heavy heating demands of winter kick in.
Even with Energia’s commitment to reduce rates (20 per cent for customers with a Smart meter electricity plan – culminating in a reduction of circa €357 per annum, and €682 average in reduction for dual-fuel customers), customers will still be paying way higher than the average charge in the EU.
Pinergy announced their second price cut in residential rates, with a 9.5 per cent cut effective from October 1. But will this put pressure on the Bord Gáis, SSE Airtricity and Electric Ireland to follow suit and reduce the extortionate bills Irish families and businesses are facing this winter?
Following calls from Senator Maria Byrne (FG), to have similar payments issued to customers across the country to assist in energy costs as last winter, Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath called for the fall in wholesale energy costs to be passed on to Irish householders.
He made this statement following massive criticism of energy costs haven risen dramatically following the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and yet despite, the reduction in fuel supplies since, no such reduction had been made by the main energy suppliers here.
Talks will intensify in advance of Budget day on 10 October next; any energy measures will likely be funded from the windfall gains tax.
Regulatory body ‘too soft’, says consumer commentator
Speaking on RTÉ News, Charlie Weston, Personal Finance Editor of the Irish Independent questioned why the relevant regulatory body had not reviewed energy companies and their charges here, given Ireland has by far the highest energy costs in Europe. The energy crisis here, he said, goes back further than the Russian-Ukrainian war – gas and electricity costs should long have been challenged here by the regulator.
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) is Ireland’s independent energy and water regulator.
Pearse Doherty (SF) slated the Irish Government for not taking the crisis in hand, and only responding when members of the opposition or Irish charity agencies highlighted poverty issues facing householders in the winter ahead.
While Energia’s 20 per cent reduction will be welcomed by over 820,000 customers across the country, the company had raised its gas charges by 39 per cent last year, and electricity prices by 29 per cent – and this after a 19 per cent increase announced in April 2022.
Daragh Cassidy, Head of Communications bonkers.ie, a price comparison website, said Energia’s move was welcomed and thought it likely the other main suppliers would follow suit and announce cost reductions over the coming months.
However, he noted, that even after last week’s reduction announcement, Energia’s rates remain very high and much higher than the EU average.
Last year, support charities such as Alone and the St Vincent de Paul reported widely that vulnerable householders, especially the elderly and young families with mortgages were experiencing food poverty and curtailing home heating in a bid to keep up with escalating household bills and education costs. See full report here: https://dublingazette.com/dublinlocalmatters/svp-cost-of-living-crisis-437222/
Feature photo: Magnascan/Pixabay