Bord Gáis is expected to apply to the energy regulator to increase prices to consumers by over 15%.

Later today the company's management will announce its annual results. Management will also outline its outlook for wholesale costs of gas which have been rising on world markets.

Ireland imports most of the natural gas it uses.

Gas prices generally follow the cost of oil which has been rising steeply.

Over the past year gas prices have doubled.

In the UK this week Centrica, the company behind British Gas, warned of a potential 30% increase in consumer prices.

The same factors will prompt Bord Gáis to seek a rise of over 15%. It will apply to the energy regulator for the increase this July.

Any changes in price would take effect from October.

But higher gas bills would come at a time when consumers are already paying considerably more for their fuel and food.