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ENERGY PRICE WAR

The light may be about to go out on the marketing campaign that has seen 300,000 households make the “the big switch” from the ESB to An Bord Gais for their electricity needs. As part of the move to open up the market in this country, the ESB has not been allowed to reduce its prices while Bord Gais and Airtricity have been offering discounts to get customers to sign with them. But this week the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) will announce that the ESB will set its own prices from October, clearing the way for a new energy price war, the Sunday Times has reported.
An Bord Gais has told CER that it is too early to end the restrictions on the state electricity supplier. After little more than a year in the market, it says it would face financial losses in a war with the ESB – and that would prompt it to consider its future as a supplier of domestic electricity. It is generally believed that modest discounts would be enough to lure former customers back to the ESB, as the introductory reductions offered by Bord Gais and Airtricity run out.
Thousands of Bord Gais electricity customers will see increases in their bills over the next month. The company entered the market in March of last year offering a minimum saving of 10 per cent on ESB prices with extra discounts for existing gas customers and those paying by direct debit. The discount drops to a maximum of 5 per cent in years two and three.

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