Consumers face a significant increase in electricity bills from the autumn, the Chairman of the ESB said today.

Higher oil and gas costs are behind the ESB's application to the energy regulator for price increases.

ESB has not yet said how much of a rise it wants.

However, the ESB said it would not be out of line with Britain, where power companies are increasing prices by 30%.

The company also said it is making a €300m contribution to offset the price increases.

That would knock 8% to 10% off bills.

Depending on what the regulator decides, prices could go up by about 20% this autumn.