- While electricity prices have risen and only one supplier has reduced its gas prices, the CRU is concerned at falling levels of supplier switching.
- Electricity supplier switching rates in Q2 2019 were down 10.8% from Q1 2019. Gas supplier switching rates in Q2 2019 were down 9.3% from Q1 2019.
- CRU calls for energy customers to be active, switching suppliers or re-negotiating with their current supplier, in order to avail of better deals.
- Active customers who switched or renegotiated every year for the last 4 years could have saved €704 on gas, €1,097 on electricity or €1,696 on their dual fuel costs.*
Electricity and gas retail market reports are part of the CRU’s market monitoring role to help ensure that the Irish customer continues to benefit from a competitive energy market. It provides insights into consumer and supplier behaviour in the Irish energy market and highlights the sustained development of the Irish retail energy sector to support greater innovation and choice for consumers.
Switching remains a key indicator of retail competition and supplier activity within the retail market and a way for customers to make possible savings. Active customers who switched or renegotiated every year for the last 4 years could have saved €704 on gas, €1,097 on electricity or €1,696 on their dual fuel costs.*
Savings made through switching or negotiating with current suppliers could help customers beat the recent prices increases outlined in this report. A total of 3 suppliers announced price increases in the first half of 2019, based on increased wholesale costs incurred in the previous months.
CRU Commissioner with responsibility for the Retail Markets, Aoife MacEvilly said;
“The CRU is concerned that customers are losing out as suppliers wait to pass on the value of falling wholesale prices, while customer switching rates have dropped off from record highs at the end of 2018.
The CRU mid-year report on the state of play in the Irish Electricity and Gas Market highlights that only one supplier to date has reduced its gas retail price, despite falling prices in the wholesale market. The CRU expects other suppliers to follow suit as the time lag created by hedging strategies expires.
In the meantime, customers can get better value by negotiating with their current supplier or switching. With 12 suppliers, including international giant Iberdrola, now active in the Irish domestic energy market, customers can save hundreds of euros by shopping around. This is particularly important as we head into the winter heating season. October and November 2018 were record breaking months for switching in Ireland but the CRU is disappointed to see that this activity has fallen off in the first half of 2019.
To continue to encourage consumers to switch, the CRU will continue to deliver its successful #Switch On campaign and encourages customers to visit www.cru.ie for more information on their rights and savings.”
Three suppliers announced price increases in the first half of 2019, based on increased wholesale costs incurred in previous periods. At the end of quarter 3 2019, one supplier, Bord Gáis Energy, announced a second price change within the year, which involved a price increase in electricity and a price decrease in gas. This marks the first price decrease resulting from decreasing wholesale gas costs since the beginning of the year.
In June 2019, the least expensive Estimated Annual Bill in electricity** (for a standard plan was with BeEnergy at €978.91. The least expensive discounted plan was with Energia with an Estimated Annual Bill of €839.01.
The least expensive Estimated Annual Bill for a standard plan in gas** was with Electric Ireland at €819.92. The least expensive discounted plan was with Flogas with an Estimated Annual Bill of €683.99.
In 2019 Electric Ireland, Energia, Bord Gáis Energy, Just Energy, Iberdrola, Panda Power and SSE Airtricity offered dual fuel plans to customers with price discounts for domestic customers that avail of both services from the same supplier. The least expensive dual fuel offer was with Energia with an Estimated Annual Bill of €1,519.51.
The total number of customers switching in electricity was 76,314 in quarter 2 2019, representing a 3.7% switching rate. This represented a decrease in switching of 10.8% from quarter 1 2019, when there were 85,517 switches.
The total number of customers switching in gas was 30,036 in quarter 2 2019, representing a 4.3% switching rate. This represented a decrease in switching of 9.3% from quarter 1 2019, during which time there were 33,132 customer switches.
At the end of quarter 2 2019, Electric Ireland had the largest domestic electricity market share, with 47.7% of the market in terms of consumption, with its market share continuing to fall slowly. This was followed by Bord Gáis Energy with 19.1%, SSE Airtricity with 12.8%, Energia with 9%, PrePayPower with 6.7%, Panda with 2.4% and Pinergy with 1.3%.
At the end of quarter 2 2019, Bord Gáis Energy had the largest domestic gas market share in terms of customer numbers with 44.9%, followed by Electric Ireland with 21%, SSE Airtricity with 12.7%, Energia with 8.9%, PrePayPower with 6.7%, Flogas with 3.6%, and Panda Power with 1.4%.
The full Published Electricity and Gas Retail Markets Report for Q2 2019 is available here