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Price increases in store for consumers from Monday

Inflation in Ireland has fallen significantly in recent months, but a number of cost increases will weigh on consumers from next Monday.

From midnight on 1 April, the cost of petrol, diesel and marked fuel oil (green diesel) will rise.

It is the latest step by Government to restore excise rates to the levels they were at before a temporary cut was introduced two years ago.

Filling up at the pumps on Monday will cost you an extra €0.04 cent per litre of petrol, 3 cent per litre of diesel and 1.5 cent on marked gas oil.

In March 2022, as fuel prices soared after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, then Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced a steep reduction in excise.

The temporary cut immediately saved motorists 20 cent per litre of petrol and 15 cent on diesel. The reduction has been gradually unwound in the period since.

Monday’s increase will be the second last step, with one final increase to come in August. For consumers who are dependent on their private cars, it is bad news.

Since March last year, fuel prices have seesawed, and just when they are trending down again, the excise increase has fallen due.

Despite criticism of the move from opposition politicians and consumer groups in recent days, Government ministers signalled there would be no change to the planned excise restoration.

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said the the “idea of hiking up” excise duty is “absolutely wrong” and “punitive” on people.

He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the Government is “raking it in” in terms of taxes on fuel and criticised its reason to restore excise duty “to change people’s behaviour”.

From Monday also, many consumers will see the cost of their broadband, mobile and television services increase substantially.

Eir, Vodafone, Sky Ireland and Three will all be increasing monthly prices on their plans, ranging from €2 to €8 depending on which provider and which plan is used. There will be increases coming later in the year for Virgin Media services too.

In the case of eir, Vodafone and Three, the increases will be brought about as a result of a clause in customer agreements that provides for annual increase in fees.

These companies will add 7.6%, a figure based on the consumer price index (CPI) in January of this year which was 4.6% and an additional 3% added on top.

In a statement to RTÉ News, eir said that like all telecommunications companies, it has experienced significant cost increases in recent years and “while these costs have been absorbed and managed where possible, it has been necessary to pass on some of these to customers”.

On its website, Vodafone says that the company is faced “with growing pressures due to inflation and increased demand to invest in our network so we can deliver reliable connectivity and the best customer experience possible.

“But these mid-contract price annual increases are new to the market in this country, having only been first used here in 2021.”

ComReg, which is the statutory regulator of the electronic communications sector, has expressed concern about such increases from a consumer protection perspective. However, it currently has no role in regulating prices.

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty has strongly criticised mid-contract price increases and has called for Government action to outlaw them.

“We need to ban this practice, where companies are increasing the price of contracts in the middle of the contract,” he said.

“It’s already going to be banned in the North and in Britain. The regulator agrees with me that this practice has to stop and if the Government won’t act then we will act for them.”

Mr Doherty has produced legislation to ban the practice, which he will propose in the Dáil if the Government does not take action.

Article Source – Price increases in store for consumers from Monday – RTE

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