Every household must be offered best possible deal on their Electricity and Gas
– Energy Minister must call on CRU to act to protect consumers
– Labour Bill would tackle the ‘loyalty penalty’
Raising with the Minister for Energy the soaring prices for electricity and gas, Labour Enterprise spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin called on Minister Ryan to meet with the regulator and ensure every household is offered the best available deal used to attract new customers, rather than be penalised for staying with the same supplier.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:
“Existing customers of gas and electricity suppliers are charged higher rates then new customers who often get offered special deals to switch. This is a loyalty penalty, and with prices soaring every customer should be switched to the best available price.
“In the Dáil today I asked Minister Ryan to meet again with the energy regulator, the CRU, to ask that every energy customer be offered the best possible deal on their electricity and gas contracts. At present there is a loyalty penalty for customers who don’t switch. With Electric Ireland, Bord Gáis and Energia all implementing double digit increases in their prices, ordinary households are being hit with soaring costs to heat their homes, and keep the lights on.
“The Labour Party previously introduce a bill, the Consumer Protection (Loyalty Penalty and Customer Complaints) Bill 2021 that would ensure utility companies must offer all their customers the best possible rate, and not restrict lower rates only to new customers.
“As highlighted by St Vincent de Paul this morning, OFGEM, the regulator in the UK have moved existing customers to the best tariffs available, and their rules require suppliers to provide payment plans and emergency credit for pre-pay meters. Similar measures should be implemented here.
“The Loyalty penalty in Ireland impacts many, but especially those who can least afford it, and are least likely to switch. This affects those who are disadvantaged and older customers who may not have the time, resources or knowledge to navigate complex deals, and neither should they be expected to switch products constantly in order to get better value for money or a decent service. They should simply be offered the lowest price now as energy bills