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Bord Gáis is the latest energy supplier to cut prices ahead of the winter

Meanwhile the Taoiseach said households will need further energy supports in the Budget.

LAST UPDATE | 20 Sep 2023

BORD GÁIS ENERGY is the latest supplier to announce a cut in charges.

The move comes in the wake of a series of hikes in recent years. 

The change announced this morning represents a cut of 15.5% off the current unit rate of gas and 15.5% off the current unit rate of electricity.

Standing charges on both fuels have also been reduced by 15.5%, the company says. 

The changes take effect from 9 November for all household customers. 

The average annual gas bill will fall to €1,607, a saving of €274. The average electricity bill will fall €357 to €1,948, according to the company. It adds that dual fuel customers can expect an annual average saving of over €600.

Bord Gáis hiked its energy prices by up to almost 40% in October of last year. Before that, in April 2022, it hiked its electricity prices by almost 30% and its gas prices by over 40%.

“Today’s news was expected given recent price drops by all Bord Gáis’s main competitors in recent weeks and it will obviously be welcomed by its customers as we head into the colder autumn and winter months,” Daragh Cassidy of price comparison site said. 

“It’s also good to see that Bord Gáis has cut its standing charges. These were increased hugely by all suppliers during the crisis. No one can avoid them, no matter how little energy they use, so it’s good to see Bord Gáis begin to reverse some of the previous hikes.  

Even after today’s reduction, he added, “Bord Gáis’s prices remain around double what they were in 2020 before Covid and then the war in Ukraine wreaked havoc with energy prices”.

Yes, prices are falling, but they’re falling from really high levels. So it’ll still be a very expensive winter to heat and light our homes.

“It remains to be seen if we’ll see further price drops from Bord Gáis over the coming weeks given how high wholesale prices remain.

“I think we’ll see another 10% to 15% reduction in a few months’ time if wholesale prices remain where they currently are.” 

Speaking ahead of this latest announcement, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told The Journal in New York last night that households will need further energy supports this winter. 

He also confirmed that the government will take a special dividend from ESB to claw back some of its profits. 

ESB announced a 30% rise in its operating profits to €676 million during the first six months of this year.

The Taoiseach said a further round of electricity price reductions is “likely in the new year or in the spring”.  

Varadkar said if State-owned companies make hyper profits the government has the power to take some of those profits off them in the form of a special dividend.

“It makes sense to us to recoup some of those dividends and use that money then to help households and businesses with with energy costs,” he added, stating last year it took in around €100 million. 

However, he said rolling out one energy credit of €200 to two million households costs €400 million.

“So none of those things are cheap,” he said. 

“It’s clear prices are still going to be higher this winter than they were last winter. And notwithstanding the fact that wages have gone up, I firmly believe that households will need help with their energy bills over the winter. But it’s not decided yet how many energy credits there’d be or what amount.”

Varadkar said the government have been looking at “smarter” mechanisms to help households and to avoid second homes and holiday homes getting the credit. However, its efforts have been unsuccessful he said. 

The Taoiseach held a meeting with all the energy companies last week, in which Varadkar urged them to put in place hardship and affordability funds this winter as well as good customer service systems.

Disconnections should only be done as a last resort when someone continues not to pay their bill and should not be carried out where someone is making a reasonable effort to pay, he added.  

Daragh Brophy and Christina Finn
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