Consumers are being warned to brace themselves for a raft of energy price increases which will start to come into effect from today and continue throughout the month of April. 

From today, customers of SSE Airtricity, the country's third biggest energy supplier, will see their electricity prices increase by 6.2% and their gas prices rise by 4.5%.

Meanwhile, customers of Pinergy will see their electricity go up by 4.2%. 

The electricity price increases will affect around 270,000 households while around 85,00 households will be impacted by SSE’s gas price rise. 

From Monday 5 April, Energia, the country's fourth biggest supplier, will increase its electricity prices by 8.6% and its gas prices by 5.7%. 

The price increases mean the average Energia customer will pay around €100 a year extra for their electricity and €50 for their gas. 

Energia has around 160,000 electricity customers and 60,000 gas customers. 

On 12 April, Bord Gás Energy, the second biggest energy supplier, is raising its electricity prices by 8%, in a move that will add around €80 to the average customer’s annual bill and affect over 350,000 households.

However, its freeze on gas prices, which it announced last autumn, remains in place for now. 

Panda Power, Iberdrola, Glowpower, and Flogas are also increasing prices later this month. 

Electric Ireland, the country’s biggest electricity supplier, has announced that it doesn’t intend to increase prices for the time being.

However, it did increase its electricity prices by 3.4% last October when many suppliers froze theirs. 

According to Eurostat, electricity prices in Ireland are already the fourth most expensive in the 27-nation EU, and more expensive than the UK, Norway and Iceland too. 

Gas prices are the seventh most expensive.

Daragh Cassidy, Head of Communications at comparison and switching website described some of the increases as "fairly hefty".

"Energy prices are notoriously volatile so there's no guarantee households won’t be hit with further increases later in the year unfortunately.

"To make matters worse, the increased carbon tax on gas bills will also kick in from next month, meaning households will now be paying around €80 a year on the tax alone," he said.

In terms of the reasons for the price increases, Mr Cassidy pointed out that energy prices collapsed at the height of the pandemic, and had since begun to increase in recent month as the world economy opens back up.

"What's more, transmission and distribution network charges, or more simply the charges for maintaining and running the country’s gas and electricity networks, have been increased by the energy regulator in recent months.

"These charges make up around 30% of the price we pay for our energy and the increases are now unfortunately being passed on to customers too," he said.

Mr Cassidy advised households looking to offset the price increases to compare prices and switch to a cheaper supplier.

"Despite the rising prices there is still huge competition among all the suppliers for new customers.

"At the moment someone who is paying standard rates and who switches supplier could save themselves well over €400 a year on average," he said.