Energy provider SSE Airtricity has promised not to increase prices for vulnerable customers struggling to pay their bills.
The t comes when the supplier hiked double-digit prices for its electricity and gas customers from earlier this month.
SSE Airtricity increased its electricity prices by 24pc from 1 May, a move that would add an additional €338 to the normal annual household bill. Gas increased by 32.3 percent, which would add €333 to the normal annual bill.
About 250,000 electricity customers and 85,000 gas customers have been affected by the move. According to price comparison site Bonkers.ie, the company made three price hikes last year.
This means that since 2020 the supplier has increased its electricity prices by about 70 pc and gas prices by about 80 pc.
Now it has promised to keep energy charges for its existing domestic customers who are grappling with their bills for the rest of the year.
It said the announcement provides certainty for its economically vulnerable customers, despite high international energy prices affecting the cost of living.
However, it is not clearly defined who it sees as a vulnerable customer.
The company said it is in consultation with key stakeholders on eligibility criteria, which would include those facing acute financial hardship with their energy bills or topping up their prepayment meters.
Claire Neenan, director of SSE Airtricity, said the company understands that families are under pressure due to the cost of living crisis.
Darragh Cassidy of Bonkers.ie said the price promise is welcome as prices are likely to rise again later this year.
“However, this decision of SSE only keeps the prices at their record level. SSE has increased its electricity prices by about 70 pc and gas prices by about 80 pc from 2020 onwards. So houses are not in a better position immediately. Will be,” he said.
Mr Cassidy said the company was unclear about how it defines a vulnerable customer.