Between December 1 and Christmas Day alone, bills rose by 3.2%, meaning the average household will now pay around €81.87 for the month.
Since August, electricity bills have risen by a typical €10.05.
FACUA complains that the government ‘continues to bow down to’ utility companies instead of ‘acting to protect customers’ interests’.
“This winter is proving to be another especially hard one for households on low incomes – for yet another year, they are being prevented from putting on the heating, or being cut off because they are unable to pay their bills, given the absence of any effective measures by the ministry of energy to ease power poverty,” FACUA states.
The new ‘social discount’ system, where homes on low incomes get a certain amount off their bills, is ‘even worse’ than the previous scheme, given that the reductions are less now than before and fewer families are eligible.
Electricity bills have been going up consistently for seven months in 2017, FACUA denounces, compared to three months when they dropped and another two when they remained unchanged.
The average increase in November was 2.7% and in September, 0.4%, but the rise in October was the second-highest of the year, at 7.2%.
May and June saw rises of 0.8% and 1.2%, and the greatest of 2017 was in January, when bills shot up by 9.4%.
They decreased the following month, by 13.3%, and again in March by 6.8% and in May by 0.8%, whilst in August and April they remained the same.
FACUA says these ‘unjustified’ increases show that consumers are ‘victims of a near-monopoly’ and ‘lack of competition in the energy market’, leading corporations to ‘speculate with tariffs’.
The consumer group wants to see IVA on electricity reduced and the government to intervene in pricing, periodically reviewing tariffs and fixing them to make them more affordable.