- Three in ten (30%) are already rationing their energy usage to keep costs down, and a further third (34%) plan to do so
- Only a quarter of consumers (28%) say they won’t need to go without heating this winter to manage costs
- Two-thirds (63%) of those who intend to go without heating worry this could impact on their family’s health
- Almost half (47%) fear that going without heating still won’t be enough to make their heating bills affordable.
Four in five Irish consumers are worried about the cost of energy this winter, with many set to ration their household energy usage in a bid to keep a lid on bills. The new findings from independent price comparison and switching service Switcher.ie follow a raft of energy price increases and could mean Irish households will be going cold through the winter as they try to avoid switching their heating on.
Already, three in ten (30%) are rationing their energy usage to keep costs down, with a further third (34%) saying they plan to do so. In fact, such is the concern about the high price of energy that only three in ten consumers (28%) say they will be able to get through the winter without being forced to go without heating to manage their costs.
Four in ten (39%) say they’ll delay switching on the heating for as long as possible, while two in ten (17%) will occasionally go without heating. More worryingly, 13% will regularly go without heating.
Going without heating could mean people having to compromise on their comfort, health and well-being – and that is on the minds of consumers. Two-thirds (63%) of those who intend to go without heating say that this could impact on their family’s health, while a similar number (62%) worry about the effect on their wellbeing. Meanwhile, seven in ten (68%) say they’re concerned that going without heating could lead to damp or other issues in their home.
Most worryingly of all, almost half (47%) fear that going without heating at some stage still won’t be enough to make heating bills affordable.
And concern over the cost of energy this winter will only be exacerbated by the recent spate of price hikes. Seven of the ten energy suppliers in the Irish market have announced price rises, adding up to 5.9% or €57 to the average household electricity bill and up to 3.4% or €25 to the average gas bill.
Prior to these increases, four in ten consumers (43%) said that they would struggle to afford their energy bills if the cost of energy was to rise this winter, while two in ten (18%) said they would not be able to afford their energy bills at all.
A large number (59%) said that if costs went up, they would be forced to cut out non-essentials, such as eating out and trips to the cinema, in order to afford their energy bills. It could also have an impact on people’s plans for the festive season, with over half (54%) saying they would cut back on Christmas spending, like presents and clothes, if energy prices rose.
Eoin Clarke, Managing Director of Switcher.ie, said: “It’s worrying to see that so many households will resort to going without heating to make ends meet this winter. The real danger is that, in an effort to save money, consumers could be putting their health or well-being – and that of their family – at risk.
“These findings are a real wake-up call about the impact that the high cost of energy can have on consumers. And, with the majority of energy suppliers recently announcing price hikes, many consumers will see their bills rise in the coming months. That’s why it’s crucial that consumers know that they can make significant savings on their energy bills without having to resort to turning off their heating at home. In fact, the average household can save up to a huge €337 by switching from standard energy tariffs to the cheapest deals on the market, which could go a long way towards winter heating bills.
“There are also lots of good ways to conserve heat in the home, which should help you to reduce your energy consumption. These include sealing off draughts, closing the curtains to keep heat in, and closing doors between rooms to prevent heat escaping. And there are also government schemes available to help eligible consumers get energy-efficiency improvements made to their home free of charge, including things like attic insulation, lagging jackets and cavity wall insulation – so these are well worth investigating as they can help consumers to achieve long-term savings.”
For more information, visit Switcher.ie
For further information please contact:
Maeve McLaughlin, Switcher.ie on 01 517 5922/087 133 2526 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Images for use are available on Flickr here.
Notes to editors
Research was carried out for Switcher.ie by iReach Insights, involving 1,001 online interviews with Irish adults aged 18+years. The total sample is representative of the national population in Ireland.
 In response to the question: “Thinking about your energy bills as we come into winter, do you plan to ration your energy usage in any way to keep energy costs down? Yes, I am already doing this/ Yes, I am planning on doing this/ No”
 In response to the question: “Thinking more specifically about heating your home this winter, which of the following statements would be most applicable to you? I will go entirely without heating to keep my energy costs down/ I will regularly go without heating to keep my energy costs down/ I will occasionally go without heating to keep my energy costs down/ I will delay switching on my heating for as long as possible/ I won’t go without heating”
 In response to the question: “You said that you intend to go without heating at some point this winter to keep your costs down. Please state how much you agree or disagree with each of the following statements in relation to that: I am concerned that going without heating could impact negatively on mine or my family’s health/ I am concerned that going without heating could affect mine or my family’s well-being/ I am concerned that going without heating could lead to damp or other issues in the home/ I am worried that going without heating at some point still won’t be enough to make my energy bills affordable.”
 In response to the question: “If the cost of energy was to rise this winter, which of the following situations would you possibly find yourself in as a result? I would struggle to afford my energy bills/ I would not be able to afford my energy bills at all/ I would be forced to cut out non-essentials, such as eating out, trips to the cinema etc./ I would cut back on Christmas spending, such as presents, clothes etc./ I would try to avoid or delay switching my heating on/ I would consider living without heating/ hot water for a period of time”
 In response to the question: “With winter on its way, how worried are you about the cost of your energy bills? Extremely worried/ Very worried/ Moderately worried/ Slightly worried/ Not at all worried”
 Source – Switcher.ie: How does Switcher calculate its savings messages?
 Source – SEAI: Home grants
Best energy deals on the market
Cheapest deals The cheapest electricity deal on the market is Energia’s ‘Cheapest Electricity (33% discount)’ tariff at €819.10 per year*. The tariff is €152.46 a year cheaper when compared to the typical standard electricity tariff.
The cheapest gas deal on the market is Flogas’s ‘25% Direct Debit Discount’ tariff** at €595.97 per year. The tariff is €184.83 a year cheaper when compared to the typical standard gas tariff.
The cheapest dual fuel deal on the market is Energia’s ‘Cheapest Dual Fuel 29/28’ tariff at €1,454.86 per year*. The tariff is €297.50 a year cheaper when compared to the standard gas and electricity tariffs.
Best deals when cashback is included
Depending on your consumption, plans with cashback may be an attractive option.
When you take into account cashback, Electric Ireland’s ‘Value Saver (Direct Debit and Online Billing)’ tariff comes in at €757 (after the €175 the online switching bonus) for an average electricity customer.
Electric Ireland’s ‘Standard Domestic Gas (Direct Debit & Online Billing)’ tariff comes in at €527.74 (after the €175 online switching bonus) for an average gas customer.
With regards to dual fuel, if you switch to Energia’s ‘Cheapest Dual Fuel 29/28’ tariff directly through their website, it comes in at €1,404.86 per year (after €50 cashback)*.
*This takes into account Energia’s price rise, which comes into effect on 1 December. **The tariff name will change to Flogas’s ‘27% Direct Debit Discount’ from 1 December, but pricing will remain the same.
Source: Switcher.ie. Savings message based on the national average consumption. According to the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), the average Irish household uses 11,000 kW/h of gas and 4,200 kW/h of electricity per year. Calculation based on Urban 24 electricity tariff. Price includes PSO levy, Carbon Tax and 13.5% VAT.
Switcher.ie launched in January 2013, with the aim of offering consumers free, independent and impartial price comparison and switching services for gas, electricity, home broadband and digital television. Switcher.ie aims to make it easier for Irish households to compare prices, save money on their regular bills, get the best deals on offer and make their hard-earned money go that bit further. Switcher.ie is accredited by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities as an impartial, accurate and independent supplier of domestic energy price comparisons and is a member of Guaranteed Irish.
Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their location.
Switcher.ie is owned by Switcher Limited, a privately funded internet-based business focused on consumer engagement and innovation.