Flogas Energy has today announced increases in its residential electricity and natural gas bills as it becomes the latest energy provider to announce price hikes.

Flogas said it will increase its residential electricity prices by 27%, while there will be a 29% increase in its residential natural gas prices.

The higher rates will come into effect from May 7.

Flogas said it was increasing its prices due to the unprecedented and sustained rise in wholesale gas prices and the associated rise in wholesale electricity costs.

It said that wholesale costs have continually increased in the last 12 months, while the escalating geo-political situation is adding to the pressures already existing in the Irish and European energy markets.

Prices are remaining high and increasingly volatile, with little sign of improvement in the medium term, Flogas added.

Paul Kenny, general manager of Flogas Energy, said that all Irish energy suppliers are being faced with the same rising wholesale cost increases.

"While we have worked hard to minimise and delay price changes during the winter months, we now regrettably need to reflect the increased costs in our prices," Mr Kenny said.

"We are contacting our customers to advise of the change and give advice and support on how to reduce their costs into the future," he added.

"We sincerely regret the increase in our prices, we are keenly aware of the impact being felt by households across the country, and our Customer Service teams will be supporting affected customers as much as possible," he stated.

Commenting on the news, Daragh Cassidy from price comparison website Bonkers.ie said while this is the first price increase of the year from Flogas, it is a big one.

"The latest price hike will add around €500 a year to the average customer's electricity bill and over €400 to their annual gas bill," he said.

He also pointed out that Flogas increased its gas and electricity prices four times last year.

"When all price increases over the past year or so are taken into account, Flogas customers will be paying over €2,200 more for their gas and electricity each year," he said.

Mr Cassidy said today’s news had been expected given the skyrocketing cost of gas on wholesale markets.

"Flogas has also announced significant increases to the daily standing charge for gas and electricity customers, the scale of which seems difficult to justify," he added.

"Flogas customers will now be hit with a standing charge of over €380 a year for electricity and around €250 a year for gas.

"So it’s a significant sum to pay before you’ve even turned on the heat or the kettle," he said.

Earlier this week, Iberdrola lreland said its gas customers will see their average bill rise by 11%, adding around €12 to a bill, while electricity customers will see charges increase by 24%, driving the average bill €33 higher.

Last week, Electric Ireland said it will increase its residential electricity prices by 23.4% and gas prices by 24.8% from 1 May.

Bord Gáis Energy also said last month that its average electricity bill will go up by 27% and the average gas bill will go up by 39%, while Energia and PrePayPower have all also recently announced price hikes.

Last year there were over 35 price hike announcements from Irish energy suppliers.