Electric Ireland has announced further increases to its residential electricity and gas bills from 1 October after increasing them in August.
The company said its electricity bills will increase by 26.7% and residential gas bills by 37.5% from next month.
Electric Ireland said the price hikes were due to the unprecedented increases in international energy market prices and their impact on wholesale gas prices.
The latest increases equate to €37.20 per month on the average residential electricity bill and €42.99 per month on the average residential gas bill, based on the estimated annual bill as defined by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
In August, Electric Ireland increased its residential gas bills by 29.2% and residential electricity bills by 10.9%.
Before that, it raised its gas and electricity prices by almost 25% in May. It also increased its prices twice in 2021.
The increase by Electric Ireland will impact around 1.1 million electricity customers and 150,000 gas customers.
Yesterday, energy provider PrepayPower also said that it will increase its gas and electricity prices from 1 October.
Its electricity prices are to rise by 19%, while gas prices will increase by 29%.
Last Friday, SSE Airtricity said it would prices for its customers from 1 October, with electricity bills to rise by over 35%, and gas bills to increase by 39%.
Pat Fenlon, Executive Director of Electric Ireland said this continues to be a very challenging time for customers.
This “unprecedented” time in the energy industry is seeing increases to wholesale gas prices in excess of 700% over the last 12 months, and 200% since June alone.
“It is with considerable reluctance that we are increasing electricity and gas prices again for our customers, which is necessary given the continuing increases in wholesale energy prices, particularly gas,” he said.
He said that this time last year wholesale gas prices for winter were about £1.15 per therm, and as of last week, this winter’s prices were about £7.70 per therm.
“We realise these price increases will be difficult for many customers to absorb and we are committed to helping our customers during these difficult times,” Mr Fenlon said.
“We encourage any customer having difficulty in paying bills to engage with us and we will work with them to agree a manageable payment plan,” he said.
Mr Fenlon also said the company’s €3m Electric Ireland Hardship Fund is available and will be administered on its behalf by its partners SVP (Society of St Vincent de Paul) and MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service).
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that the last two weeks have seen “fairly dramatic” and unprecedented rises in pricing in terms of forward purchasing of energy on the wholesale market.
He promised to use the budget to help lessen the impact this is having on citizens.
“We will deal with that as best we can in terms of alleviating the pressure on people which is clear,” he said.
Elsewhere, Daragh Cassidy, Head of Communications at bonkers.ie, said that price increases of this frequency and this magnitude are clearly unsustainable.
“During the last energy crisis in the 1970s, the price of oil increased by around 400% on wholesale markets. We now have gas up by over 1,000%,” he stated.
“We’re heading into winter with gas and electricity prices at absolutely astronomical levels. And it could get even worse. The average gas and electricity bill is now around €4,000. That’s close to the UK price cap of £3,549.
“In the UK the price cap is forecast to rise to over €6,000 in January. Over 70% of our gas comes via the UK so our prices track theirs relatively closely – indeed UK gas and electricity has generally been slightly cheaper than Ireland’s in recent years.”
Mr Cassidy said the Government needs to decide now how it plans to help households over the coming months.
“To truly tackle the costs of spiralling energy prices, action will need to be taken at an EU level. Next week’s proposed emergency energy summit is welcome news as are talks about an intervention in the electricity market and a redesign to bring down prices,” he said.