At the beginning of the week Bord Gáis confirmed that its residential electricity prices will increased by 12% next month with a further increase of 25% expected in October. Flogas also just upped its standing charge for existing gas customers by 40% and although ESB and Airtricity haven’t yet decided whether or not to increase their prices it is presumed they will follow suit.
Dr. Brian Motherway, Chief Operations Officer at Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) emphasised the dependence in Ireland on imported fossil fuels at a time of increased volatility in the global market, “There is undoubtedly a continuing upward pressure on prices due to our dependence on these imported fuels. This is a cause of concern for both homeowners and businesses”. “There is now a need to exploit natural energy resources”, he added.
There are plans to build a new transmission network to deliver renewable energy, such as wind energy, to Irish households over the next few years, however Cathal Hanley, Economist with the Competition Authority commented that “our economy has shrunk by about 15% over the last few years and economic growth is not as strong as a few years ago. So we may not need all this extra electricity that’s being planned… and if you have a surplus of electricity, then that surplus still has to be paid for”.
Despite more energy price hikes in the coming weeks, new research by SEAI reports that consumers here pay 15% below the EU average for electricity and 31% less for gas.
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