A fourth energy supplier has signalled that it is to hike its gas and electricity prices.
SSE Airtricity blamed continued rises in wholesale energy costs as well as increases in electricity transmission charges.
From next month it is increasing the standard price of electricity by 6.3%, or €1.18 per week, while the standard price of natural gas will rise by 6.9% or €1.01 per week.
Director of home energy at SSE Airtricity, David Manning, said the price increases are unavoidable.
In particular, continued increases in wholesale fuel costs had seen the price of gas rise by a further 17% over the last five months.
Pinergy’s energy prices will increase by 7.89% from next Wednesday, adding €66 to the average annual electricity bill.
Flogas and Panda Power are also increasing their prices for the winter.
Independent price comparison and switching service, Switcher.ie, said the latest SEE Airtricity price hike would add €61.36 to the average annual electricity bill and €52.52 to the gas bill.
It is the second time that the supplier has pushed up prices this year, with gas bills increasing by 12.3% and electricity bills by 6.4% in July. The summer hikes added €140 to the average annual dual fuel energy bill.
And with Flogas, Panda Power, and Pinergy already announcing winter price rises in the last five weeks, other suppliers are likely to follow close behind.
Managing director of Switcher.ie, Eoin Clarke, said it is a frustrating and worrying time for consumers, particularly with winter on its way when people’s energy usage typically peaks.
“The latest price hike from SSE Airtricity, the second this year, is a bitter pill to swallow for customers, with the average annual bill set to go up by €113.88 come December, just weeks before Christmas,” said Mr Clarke.
“Customers shouldn’t be paying more than they have to when it comes to their energy, which is why we are urging people to act now and take control by switching to a cheaper and more affordable deal.”
“With savings of up to €290, it makes sense to switch to a cheaper deal to bring down the cost of your bill.”
Price comparison and consumer website, Bonkers.ie, said the energy price increases wipe out most of the savings announced in the budget.
Head of communications at Bonkers.ie, Daragh Cassidy, said customers should still shop around.
“All energy suppliers save their best rates for brand new customers, which are heavily discounted compared to the standard rates a long-term customer would be paying,” he said.
“So if you’ve been with your current energy supplier for over a year or so, the chances are you are overpaying.”
Consumers could save almost €300 on their annual energy bills by switching, even at a time when energy prices are increasing.
Mr Cassidy added that even a few small energy conservation measures in the home could add up to big savings over a year.
Using energy-saving light bulbs around the house, not overfilling the kettle, and installing a smart thermostat are all ways of reducing energy bills even further.