Wicklow householders could save €2,000 annually

Brendan Halpin

Over 24,000 households in Wicklow are missing out on savings of up to €2,000 in energy costs per year by failing to switch providers, a new survey has revealed.

Those living in bungalows or detached homes across Ireland can benefit most by trading in their current supplier for a new one, according to the WeSwitchU.ie Index.

The index shows the gap between the cheapest and most expensive plans on the market — with a €2000 annual difference between some dual-fuel plans for these house types.

For semi-detached homes the index reveals savings of €800 for dual-fuel customers (€2,250 versus €1,450 per annum), and €620 for apartment or terraced-house residents (€1,600 versus €980 per annum).

“Based on average consumption, the index clearly shows that many Wicklow households can potentially slice €2,000 off their bills from a premium annual cost of €5,000 to a net cost of €3,000 with the cheapest provider,” said Brendan Halpin, CEO of WeSwitchU.ie.

“There is huge inertia out there when it comes to switching providers but when you remove the obstacles and the perceived ‘hassle’ of moving, it could save people the cost of a family holiday in Ireland every year.”

Research from the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) report found that half of Irish households have never switched energy supplier.

Based on Central Statistics Office (CSO) Census 2016 figures, that means 24,503 households in Wicklow are potentially losing out.

Only one in seven change providers every year and 65% of those forget to do so in year two.

The most recent CRU national data also shows a drop in switching rates for 2020.

Typical behaviour is to automatically continue on with the existing supplier when a contract expires.

The WeSwitchU.ie index also looks at electricity costs alone, and potential savings amount to €420 for those living in Ireland’s standard three-bed semi-detached.

Annual bills range from a high of €1,200 to €780, based on 4,200kwh – the average annual electricity used in medium-sized homes. 

The savings grow to €760 (€2,030 versus €1,270) for those living in bungalows and detached homes and €356 a year for apartment and terraced home residents (high of €840 against lowest €484), who typically use less electricity.

“Based on the maximum annual savings, customers have the power to put €166 every month back in their pockets,” said Mr Halpin.

“Those who make the switch themselves benefit from the savings in their first year but need to look at the market again after that time to keep up the momentum.

“Once you sign up with WeSwitchU.ie, you do not have to search year-in, year-out for better deals as we continue to pursue savings on an annual basis and do the switching for you.

“When your contract expires we provide breakdown of the best deals for your needs and switch providers on your behalf.

“By removing the main barriers to switching – hassle and time – you are guaranteed to always be on the best rates.”

The savings are based on CSO and SEAI data for annual average electricity and gas usage across various house types.

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