Electricity and gas price hikes approved
CONSUMERS AND businesses are facing increases in gas and electricity prices this winter, following a number of decisions by the State’s energy regulator.
The Commission for Energy Regulation yesterday gave the green light for Bord Gáis to increase its household charges by 8.5 per cent from October.
It also emerged that a separate decision by the regulator to increase charges for use of the Republic’s electricity network could add between 3 per cent and 3.5 per cent to electricity charges. Depending on the supplier and other factors, such an increase would leave the average household paying an extra €25-€28 a year for electricity, bringing the total to between €750 and €850.
Yesterday’s CER decision will add €75 to the average annual gas bill of the 433,000 households supplied by Bord Gáis, leaving them paying almost €960 a year. The regulator determines what the company charges consumers.
Bord Gáis customers have seen their payments increase by more than €230 in the last year.
In September 2011, their average annual bill was €720. It climbed by €148 to €868 last October, and by a further €14 early this year.
The company said 42,700 of its gas customers are currently in arrears of more than €100 for a period of longer than 60 days. It accepted that the latest price increase would put further pressure on tens of thousands of people already struggling to make ends meet.
A spokeswoman said that the company had no choice. She explained that the increase had been driven by a fall in the value of the euro against sterling over the past 12 months, the rising cost of gas on the UK market and increased network costs.
Airtricity, one of Bord Gáis’s rivals, confirmed yesterday that it intends to increase natural gas charges, but has yet to decide on the size of the increase.
Electric Ireland, which is part of ESB, and Flogas did not announce any price hikes. They followed Bord Gáis Energy’s lead last year when it last increased its prices.