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Winter energy bills are on the way - should I switch now or switch later?

Switching energy supplier could save you up to €321

Recently we’ve been bombarded with customer questions relating to energy switching and saving money. The most common question is when is the best time to switch? Should I switch now or switch later?

The simple answer is now. Recent research conducted by the National Consumer agency highlighted that 80% of consumers who switched utilities saved money. With each of the leading energy suppliers introducing a series of discounted gas, electricity and dual fuel tariffs during the summer, there has never been a better time to switch.

Switching energy suppliers is still the quickest way to cut the cost of energy bills. Households could save up to €321 a year just by switching to the cheapest tariff in the market. The main suppliers, Electric Ireland, Bord Gáis Energy, SSE Airtricity and Energia have all introduced new introductory discounts enabling customers to make significant savings on the price of standard gas and electricity unit rates. In addition to attractive energy discounts, other incentives such as cashback offers and loyalty schemes have helped customers to save even more money on their household bills.

Who is the cheapest supplier on average?

Energia supplies the cheapest dual fuel plan, Electric Ireland is offering the cheapest electricity plan and Flogas Natural gas offers the cheapest gas tariff on average. Cheapest dual fuel tariff

  • Energia - SmartChoice Dual Fuel (SaveMe discount) - €1,884 (€321 saving on standard tariff unit rates)

Cheapest electricity tariff

  • Electric Ireland - ValueSaver (Direct Debit & Online Billing) - €1,058 (€153 saving on standard tariff unit rate)

Cheapest gas tariff

  • Flogas Natural Gas - Optimiser Direct Debit Discount - €853 (€140 saving on standard tariff unit rate)

Calculations based on the national average consumption. According to the Energy Regulator (CER), the average Irish household uses 13,800 kW/h of gas and 5,300 kW/h of electricity per year. Prices include PSO Levy, Carbon Tax & 13.5% VAT. Prices correct at 4 September, 2014.

Switching from expensive standard tariffs

A recent study by the CER highlighted customers attitudes to switching gas and electricity suppliers, with switching rates having increased this year compared to 2013. However the number of customers switching suppliers remains below 2011/12 peak levels with only 16% of all domestic electricity customers and 18% of gas customers choosing to switch energy suppliers in the last 12 months.

Many customers have not switched away from the more expensive standard unit rates, with inertia still a big factor when it comes to energy switching among consumers in Ireland. Switching suppliers only takes about 5 minutes. To avail of the biggest discounts customers are required to sign up to tariffs that include Direct Debit and Online Billing as mandatory. Below is what you’ll need to switch.

  • MPRN number (it’s located on your electricity bill)
  • Latest electricity meter reading
  • GPRN number (it’s located on your gas bill)
  • Latest gas meter reading
  • Bank account details
  • Email address

Why you should switch now

This summer has seen energy suppliers unveil a whole range of better value tariffs. Why wait to cut the cost of your energy bills?  Eoin Clarke, Head of Switcher.ie, says: “With households set to receive their first bill from Irish Water in January. Households should be looking at ways to reduce their bills. Households consume more energy in the colder months to keep their home warm. Switching to the cheapest available tariff now is a way to be sure you are saving money before your energy consumption rises in the winter. Don’t leave it until the first large winter energy bill comes in.”

Compare the latest gas and electricity deals on Switcher.ie