Electric Ireland has become the latest energy supplier to announce a major price hike in the face of soaring oil and gas prices internationally.
The company said it was increasing rates for both electricity and gas customers from May 1st.
The average electricity bill will go up by 23.4 per cent or €24.80 a month and the average gas bill will go up by 24.8 per cent or €18.35 a month, it said.
The increases will add around €300 a year to electricity bills and €220 to gas bills.
“Sustained changes in the wholesale cost of energy continues to drive price adjustments,” the company said, while noting its €2 million hardship fund remains open to customers experiencing difficulty paying bills.
"We are acutely aware that the rising cost of living is causing difficulty for households across the country," said Marguerite Sayers, executive director of Electric Ireland.
“Unfortunately, the unprecedented and sustained volatility of wholesale gas prices over the last 12 months means that we now need to increase our prices,” she said.
“We delayed the increase as long as we could in the hope that wholesale prices would drop back to early 2021 levels, but regrettably this has not happened,” she said.
Electric Ireland, the retail arm of State utilities provider ESB, is the largest electricity supplier in Ireland with approximately 1.1 million customers. Its latest price hike comes in the wake of similar moves by Bord Gáis Energy, Energia and Prepay Power.
Energia last week signalled it would increase prices by 15 per cent from April 25th while Bord Gáis Energy prices are due to go by 27 per cent for electricity and 39 per cent for gas from April 15th.
Electric Ireland raised electricity and gas prices twice last year in response to an acceleration in wholesale prices, which has been compounded by war in Ukraine.
It announced two 10 per cent increases to its electricity tariff in 2021 plus two increases ( 9 per cent and 8 per cent) to gas prices.
Daragh Cassidy from price comparison website bonkers.ie said: “Today’s news was expected unfortunately given all the recent price increases that we’ve seen.”
“And given Electric Ireland’s size, it will be felt badly by many households nationwide,” he said. “The small comfort is that it doesn’t come into effect until May when hopefully it’ll be far warmer. But households will just be faced with astronomical bills next winter,” he said.
“To say these are unprecedented times for the energy sector is an understatement. Price hikes from all the other suppliers are likely to follow and more price hikes from Electric Ireland later in the year can’t be ruled out,” he said.
“Since October 2020, when prices began to rise, some suppliers have announced price hikes that have added almost €1,500 to households’ annual gas and electricity bills. We’re in a crisis,” he said.