Bad news for consumers as Electric Ireland to hike prices by up to 8 per cent

Company blames cost of wholesale energy prices for gas and electricity increases

Prices rises at  Electric Ireland will add more than €100 a year to the bills of the average customer who uses both gas and electricity.

Prices rises at Electric Ireland will add more than €100 a year to the bills of the average customer who uses both gas and electricity.

 

Ronan McGreevy

Electric Ireland has announced it will increase residential electricity prices by 6.2 per cent and residential gas prices by 8 per cent from August 1st.

This is well in excess of the inflation rates which is under 1 per cent and has been blamed on increases in wholesale energy prices.

Wholesale gas prices in particular have risen by 25 per cent in the last year driven by global demand.

The Electric Ireland increase will add more than €100 a year to the bills of the average customer who uses both gas and electricity.

Electric Ireland is the second major electricity provider to up its prices in recent weeks.

SSE Airtricity announced it was hiking electricity and gas prices by 6.3 per cent and 12.3 per cent respectively at the beginning of June.

It too blamed the hikes on the increasing costs of importing oil and gas into Ireland.

Electric Ireland head of residential markets Niall Dineen said its price increases were a “very difficult decsion to make”.

He added: “Over the past number of years, we have passed on savings as a result of wholesale energy cost reductions and we remain the first supplier in the Irish market to offer enduring long term savings of up to 8.5 per cent to our residential electricity and gas customers.”

He also stated that poorer customers will still get a discount of 5 per cent.

The hike was criticised by the Society of St Vincent de Paul. Social policy development officer Jennifer Thompson said the Government must future-proof households who are struggling with their fuel bills.

“This will be particularly important in light of the trend of increasing wholesale prices,” she said.

She pointed out that in the last 12 months, 29 per cent of households were unable to afford to keep their homes adequately warm.