Consumers not shopping around for gas and electricity deals

Regulator concerned at decline in switching rates as suppliers increase prices

Electricity supplier switching rates were down 10.8%  in the second quarter versus the previous three months

Electricity supplier switching rates were down 10.8% in the second quarter versus the previous three months

 

Consumers are failing to benefit from an increasingly competitive energy market by not switching suppliers, the regulator in charge of setting prices for electricity and gas has said.

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) said customers who switched or renegotiated every year for the past four years could have saved €1,097 on the cost of electricity and just over €700 on gas by moving supplier.

With energy prices having risen as a number of suppliers announced price rises, the CRU said switching could help customers beat the recent increases.

Electricity supplier switching rates were down 10.8 per cent in the second quarter versus the previous three months. Gas supplier switching rates fell 9.3 per cent.

The CRU said just one supplier had reduced gas prices for consumers during the quarter despite a reduction at the wholesale level.

“Customers can get better value by negotiating with their current supplier or switching,” said CRU commissioner Aoife MacEvilly. “With 12 suppliers, including international giant Iberdrola, now active in the Irish domestic energy market, customers can save hundreds of euro by shopping around.”

Record-breaking

“October and November 2018 were record-breaking months for switching in Ireland, but the CRU is disappointed to see that this activity has fallen off in the first half of 2019,” she added.

At the end of the second quarter Electric Ireland had 47.7 per cent of the domestic electricity market. It was followed by Bord Gáis Energy with 19.1 per cent share, SSE Airtricity with 12.8 per cent, Energia with 9 per cent, PrePayPower with 6.7 per cent, Panda Power with 2.4 per cent, and Pinergy with 1.3 per cent.

Bord Gáis Energy had the largest domestic gas market share in terms of customer numbers with 44.9 per cent, followed by Electric Ireland with 21 per cent, SSE Airtricity with 12.7 per cent, Energia with 8.9 per cent, PrePayPower with 6.7 per cent, Flogas with 3.6 per cent, and Panda Power with 1.4 per cent.