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Electricity and gas providers slash hundreds from benefit of switching energy firm

Providers say prolonged high prices and volatility of markets are to blame as Government credits are being eaten up

Energy providers such as Electric Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy have slashed discounts on offer to new customers

Energy providers such as Electric Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy have slashed discounts on offer to new customers

Charlie WestonIndependent.ie

Electricity and gas providers have slashed discounts on offer to new customers in a move that has wiped hundreds of euro from the savings consumers can get from switching.

Householders were able to get discounts of up to 40pc on their energy when switching providers just a few weeks ago. But now the best discounts most providers have to offer are around 10pc.

It comes at a time when prices soared by up to 50pc last month.

This means the savings from switching both electricity and gas supplier have dropped from around €1,000 a year to just under €400.

However, annual bills for both gas and electricity are set to be around €2,000 higher this year.

Energy companies have blamed what they said were unprecedented and prolonged high prices, and volatility in wholesale energy markets.

Most of the best offers were dropped in August. Previously, discounts of up to 41pc were being offered by providers such as Energia to electricity switchers, according to Daragh Cassidy of price comparison site Bonkers.ie.

“Up to the end of August, the average saving for gas and electricity was €700 to €900 a year. However, before August it was over €1,000 at one stage. It’s now just under €400,” said Mr Cassidy.

ESB-owned Electric Ireland has now withdrawn a 30pc discount for those willing to move for their electricity supply.

It confirmed it now has a discount of just 5.5pc for new electricity or gas customers, and up to 8.5pc on dual-fuel when customers sign up to paperless billing and direct debit on a 12-month contract. It said it reviews its offers regularly.

Bord Gáis Energy said it had kept discounts of more than 30pc for as long as it could, but was forced to review the situation this autumn.

“This review was driven solely by the unprecedented and prolonged high prices and volatility in wholesale energy markets,” said a spokesperson.

The company is now offering discounts of 10pc on electricity, and 10pc on dual fuel, according to Bonkers.ie.

SSE Airtricity has slashed discount incentives from up to 33pc to 10pc.

Energia was offering a range of discounts to new customers from 27pc, but it has also dropped these to just 10pc.

Mr Cassidy said that although percentage discounts have gone down, a 10pc discount still represents a big saving on energy bills as electricity and gas prices have risen so much this year.

He said that many suppliers have stopped taking on business through online channels forcing customers to ring suppliers directly for the discounts. There are long wait times though so this kind of presents a barrier to switching.

Last month saw the latest round of energy price hikes kick in, adding so much to bills that they are likely to eat up the €600 worth of energy credits announced by the Government in the Budget.

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.

Latest figures from the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) show a record 45,518 electricity customers switched supplier in June.

This is 72pc more than during the same month last year. More than 36,000 electricity customers a month changed supplier in the first half of this year.


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