hard times | 

Energy giveaways wiped out as October price hikes expected to add more than €600 to household bills

Four suppliers are increasing their prices today, with another three to follow before the month is out

Households are feeling the strain as energy suppliers continue announcing harsh price hikes. Photo: Stock image

Charlie WestonIndependent.ie

The €600 worth of energy credits announced by the Government is likely to be eaten up by annual charges, as a series of price hikes kick in today.

Energy bills are set to rocket this month as seven providers increase their prices, with four suppliers putting them up from today.

As families turn on their heating for the winter, they will see steep hikes in the bills hitting their doormats.

The increased electricity bills will see some families facing additional annual charges of up to €600 this time.

Over the past 18 months, average annual electricity bills have doubled to more than €2,000, with similar rises for gas.

This will pile an additional €1,200 to the cost of electricity for an average household in a year.

It means the plans by the Government to pay three energy credits, totalling €600, will only cover around half the higher costs in electricity alone.

The first credit of €200 is expected to paid before Christmas – but prices are set to see steep hikes during October.

Electric Ireland’s 1.2 million customers will see electricity unit rates rise by a whopping 38pc from today.

Also increasing prices from today are SSE Airtricity, PrepayPower and Community Power.

The latest hike will add another €600 to the annual cost of electricity for SSE Airtricity customers.

Bord Gáis Energy’s electricity unit rates will shoot up by 46pc from tomorrow, adding €579 to the annual cost for its 300,000 electricity customers.

Next week Energia will implement its fifth price rise since January last year, with unit electricity rates rising by 34pc, when the cut in the PSO levy is factored out.

Flogas Energy is increasing prices of electricity and gas from the end of the month. Pinergy raised it prices last month.

The higher prices coincide with colder nights and come on top of huge increases announced in the past few months.

Daragh Cassidy of price comparison site Bonkers.ie said October is the time when many people turn back on the heating and when energy demand in the home shoots up.

“This year it also coincides with huge price increases. These increases are coming on top of energy prices that are already at record levels.”

He said households need to be prepared for receiving energy bills over the coming weeks that will be over double last year’s in many cases.

And Mr Cassidy warned that further price increases are expected over the coming weeks.

“Although the price of gas has fallen slightly on wholesale markets in recent weeks, it is highly volatile and is still up massively compared to the start of last year.”

He said the next few months are going to be very difficult with a threat of blackouts, more suppliers leaving the market, and further price hikes.

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said a way needs to be found to protect 200,000 pay-as-you-go customers from having their gas or electricity disconnected.

He told Solidarity TD Mick Barry he would speak to the Ministers for Environment and Social Protection about finding a way to protect such customers.

Mr Barry highlighted the case of one woman whose gas and electricity supplies are cut off if she runs out of credit.

A moratorium on electricity and gas disconnections is in place for the winter. Mr Barry questioned whether it applied to customers on the pay-as-you-go system.

Mr Varadkar said the moratorium “should apply to everyone”.

However, he acknowledged that “it is difficult to know how one would apply that in the case of pay-as-you-go customers just because of the nature of how pay-as-you-go works”.

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