Gas and electricity cost 10% more than year ago


ENERGY COSTS increased at almost five times the rate of inflation over the past 12 months and consumers are now paying close to 10 per cent more for gas and electricity than they were this time last year, the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show.

The figures mean consumers are worse off to the tune of close to €200 a year once their main utility bills are paid.

While the figures show there has been no increase over the past 12 months in the broad Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels category, when energy prices are looked at in isolation there has been an 8.4 per cent increase year on year. Utilities, meanwhile, which include domestic electricity and gas as well as telecommunications services and local charges, recorded a 9.7 per cent increase.

The figures also show the cost of transport increased by 7 per cent year on year, which the CSO said could be explained by higher petrol and diesel prices and higher costs associated with air travel.

Things are likely to get even more difficult for cash-strapped consumers in the months ahead, with energy prices on international markets climbing in recent weeks as turmoil in the euro zone and violence in the Middle East have given commodities traders the jitters.

Earlier this week the Bord Gáis Energy Index was published and it showed energy prices covering oil, gas, coal and electricity had risen 8 per cent in July as wholesale oil prices climbed on the back of supply concerns.

The index now stands at 144, an increase of 4 per cent on July last year. Last month Bord Gáis Energy applied to the Commission for Energy Regulation for a price increase of 7.54 per cent in a move that will add more than €60 to the average household’s annual gas bill.

It comes after the company was granted a 22 per cent increase in residential gas prices this time last year.

The three other gas suppliers in the domestic market – Electric Ireland, Airtricity and FloGas – do not have their prices regulated but it seems likely they will match the gas price increases sought by Bord Gáis Energy. When it comes to electricity, none of the providers have their prices regulated but they are likely to inch up over the course of the autumn.