Irish consumers are being forced to pay more for gas and electricity than the vast majority of households across the EU, new figures reveal.
The data from the EU statistical agency Eurostat shows gas prices in the Republic are the second highest in the EU at just under 10 cent per kilowatt hour, behind only Sweden.
Prices are cheapest in Romania and Bulgaria at around 4 cent per kilowatt hour.
Meanwhile, electricity prices in the Republic are the fourth highest in the EU at over 20 cent per kilowatt hour, behind only Belgium, Denmark and Portugal. Electricity prices are cheapest in Bulgaria and Lithuania at around 10 cent per kilowatt hour.
The figures do not take account of the recent raft of energy price increases announced here earlier this summer, which will see electricity prices increase in the Republic by almost 10 per cent in some cases and will see gas prices increase by almost 13 per cent.
"The latest figures from Eurostat will be hard for households in Ireland to stomach, particularly as we've just seen a raft of price increases from the energy suppliers," said Daragh Cassidy of price comparison and switching website bonkers.ie.
“However, as we all know, Ireland is an expensive country for consumers anyway and Ireland’s energy prices appear no more out of line with the EU than our other prices,” he said.
He said wages and business overheads also get factored into the price of supplying energy and these costs are also far higher in Ireland than in many other European countries. “However we do need firm answers from the CRU (Commission for Regulation of Utilities) and Government as to why exactly we pay so much more and why the deregulation of the energy market appears to have had little effect on households’ energy bills.”
Faced with some of the highest energy prices in Europe the only options available to consumers here is a reduction in energy consumption and moving from one provider to another in search of a cheaper rate.
“Customers should look at switching energy supplier each year. There are still heavily discounted plans available to customers who switch to a new supplier, along with ongoing discounts for things like paying by direct debit and opting to receive bills online, “ Mr Cassidy said.
Customers could save over €300 a year by switching from a standard tariff to the cheapest deals on the market.