Electric Ireland customers have become the latest to feel the pain of price hikes after the largest provider in the State announced its intention to increase residential electricity and gas prices by 4 per cent from the beginning of April.
It is the second price increase from Electric Ireland in just more than six months after it increased prices by 6.2 per cent for electricity and 8 per cent for gas last August. The company is the retail arm of State-owned energy group ESB.
All the leading providers have increased their prices over the past 12 months with most hitting consumers more than once. All of them have blamed climbing wholesale energy prices for the increases and Electric Ireland was no exception.
"Electric Ireland is absolutely committed to keeping energy prices as low as possible," claimed Electric Ireland's executive director Marguerite Sayers.
She noted that the company did not increase its prices during the winter months “when energy consumption is at its highest and people have the added financial pressure of Christmas”, a move she said that had resulted in a total saving of €21 million for customers.
“However, against the backdrop of much higher wholesale energy costs, we now reluctantly have to pass on some of these higher costs to our customers from April 1st, 2019.
The 4 per cent increase will cost its customers around €3.20 per month on average for electricity based on typical residential usage, and gas customers €2.49 per month on average.
Electric Ireland currently has more than 1.1 million electricity customers and almost 140,000 gas customers according to latest figures from the Commission for Regulation of Utilities.
Earlier this month, Bord Gáis Energy announced similar price increases which kick in on March 10th.
"Last November, Electric Ireland promised to freeze its prices over the winter months when many of its competitors had already increased theirs, so there was an inevitability about today's announcement," said Daragh Cassidy of price comparison website bonkers.ie.