From January 2015 to January 2016, competition in the retail energy sector, along with lower wholesale prices maintained the downward trend in retail prices in the fully deregulated and open electricity and gas market. This means that large savings continued to be made by customers switching from standard to discounted plans.
In the domestic electricity market, Energia offered the cheapest available discount plan for electricity at the end of 2016, with an annual average bill of €770. Bord Gáis Energy offered the cheapest available standard plan with an annual average bill of €945.91. Annual average electricity bills presented in this report are based on the revised typical annual consumption value of 4,200kWh recently updated by the CER.
In the domestic gas market, Flogas offered the cheapest available discount plan for gas at the end of 2016 with an annual average bill of €626.51. Electric Ireland offered the cheapest available standard plan with an annual average bill of €735.11. Annual average gas bills are based on the revised typical annual consumption value of 11,000kWh recently updated by the CER.
Prices change regularly and the CER encourages customers to shop around for the best deals or contact their current supplier to see what offers are available.
Customer switching remains a key indicator of retail competition and supplier activity within the retail market. The total number of switches completed in the electricity market in 2016 was 317,719. This represented an increase from 2015, during which time 303,187 customers switched. Switching remained above the 20,000 level per month throughout 2016. The average switching rate in electricity in 2015 was 13.53%. This rate compares well internationally and is indicative of an active market.
The total number of switches completed in the gas market in 2016 was 93,434. This represented a decrease in the total number compared to 2015 where 106,862 switches were completed.
In addition, a significant number of customers negotiated better terms and prices with their existing suppliers. In 2016, over 196,800 electricity customers and 46,577 gas customers renegotiated a new contract or tariff from their current suppliers.