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FAQs

Electricity FAQs

If I change supplier do I need to change my meter or wiring?

NO.  ESB Networks are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of meters and the electricity network for all customers.  You will not see any change in the electricity service you receive if you change your supplier.


Can my supplier increase the rates that I am charged?

Your supplier can increase the rates you are charged in line with what you have signed up to in your contract.  This may include increasing the unit rate, the standing charge or any additional charges on your bill.  

Some suppliers offer discounts against their 'standard' tariff, or a competitors 'standard' tariff.  It is important to note that if the supplier or its competitor increases its standard tariff, while the percentage discount may stay the same the rate you are charged may increase.


If I change supplier will I lose my electricity allowance?

NO.  If you are in receipt of the Free Electricity Allowance from the Department of Social and Family Affairs you will not lose your allowance  if you change supplier.  Customers who switch supplier will receive a monetary allowance instead of a deduction from their bill.


I have changed supplier - why have I received a letter from ESB Networks?

When you change supplier you may receive a letter from ESB Networks setting out information on connecting to the electricity network and information on the connection at your home.  This letter is for information only and you do not need to follow up in relation to nominating your new supplier.  This is a standard letter that is sent automatically when you switch supplier.


What electricity suppliers are operating in Ireland?

All providers and contact details: Electricity Suppliers 


How do I get connected to a provider?

Please see our section on Getting Connected.


Why do I need to pay a security deposit and when will I get it back?

Customers who do not have a credit history with a supplier are asked to pay a deposit on their account. Each supplier’s policy varies.


How often is my meter read?

ESB Networks aim to read your meter up to 4 times a year.  This is not always possible, so if there is no actual meter reading your bill will be issued based on an estimated meter reading.  This will always be clearly marked with a letter on your bill.

E – Estimated bills based on previous consumption.


How can I avoid estimated bills?

If you receive a bill which has been estimated, you can contact your provider with an actual read from your meter and the bill will be readjusted. You may need to contact your provider for a key to your meter box.


Who do I contact if there is a fault with my electricity?

Call ESB Networks on 1850 372 757 and they will investigate the situation and advise you of the outcome.


Who do I contact in an emergency?

Please report dangerous/emergency situations to ESB Networks on 1850 372 999

For example:

  • Power lines down
  • tree fallen on power line
  • damaged poles
  • sparks
  • flame, smell of burning at the meter, a pole or substation.

Log onto ESB Networks website for advice on safety during severe weather.


Who are Electric Ireland?  What is the difference between ESB Electric Ireland and ESB Networks?

There are separate and distinct business units within ESB and which are ring fenced through licenses issued by the CER.

Electric Ireland is the new name for ESB Customer Supply and ESB Independent Energy the supply businesses of ESB.  Electric Ireland is an electricity supplier and supplies electricity to its consumers. It has no connection with the activities of ESB Networks.

ESB Networks is the regulated System Operator and is responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of the transmission and distribution network and developing commercial arrangements for use of the electricity network in the Republic of Ireland.


What is the difference between an Urban & Night tariff?

Urban Standard
The Standard Domestic tariffs have a single unit charge for all electricity used.

Urban Nightsaver
The NightSaver tariffs have two different unit charges - one for electricity used during the day and a second, lower, charge for electricity used during designated night-time hours.

Designated Nighttime hours
The lower cost hours for Nightsaver electricity are from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. in wintertime (late October to late March) and from 12 midnight to 9 a.m. in summertime (late March to late October).


What tariff can I choose as a rural customer?

Rural Domestic and Farm Standard
The Standard Domestic tariffs have a single unit charge for all electricity used.

Rural Domestic and Farm NightSaver
The Night Saver tariffs have two different unit charges - one for electricity used during the day and a second, lower, charge for electricity used during designated night-time hours. 

Designated Nighttime hours
The lower cost hours for Nightsaver electricity are from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. in wintertime (late October to late March) and from 12 midnight to 9 a.m. in summertime (late March to late October).


What is the night storage heating tariff?

This tariff is offered under the Rural and Domestic ‘Standard’ tariff. If you have a night storage-heating appliance, you can avail of the cheaper Night Storage Heating kWh unit charge. This requires implementation of a separate meter to the heating appliance and accordingly a separate standing charge is applied.


How is my tariff made up? – Standing Charge, Unit Rate & PSO.

The approximate breakdown of costs to make up tariffs is 65% for the cost of generation, 5% for the cost of transmission, 25% for the cost of distribution and 5% for supply costs.

Each domestic tariff is composed of three elements:

How Tariff is Made Up

Element

Description

Standing Charge

The standing charge covers the upkeep of the network necessary to bring supply to your home, together with the cost of reading the meter, issuing and processing the bills, etc. These costs have to be met irrespective of the amount of electricity used.

Rural standing charges are higher than urban standing charges due to the additional costs of maintaining supply to rural customers.

A small additional standing charge applies where a second meter is installed for electric storage heating.

PSO Levy

The Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy is imposed through a levy originally introduced by the then Minister for Public Enterprise. This levy is imposed by the Government on all final electricity customers regardless of their supplier and is shown as a separate item on electricity bills.  It is designed to recover the additional costs associated with electricity from specified sources of generation, including sustainable, renewable and indigenous sources.  

The PSO levy is set by the Commission for Energy Regulation on 1st October every year to conincide with the start of the tariff year for ESB Customer Supply.  In some years (such as 2008) the PSO amount is small and the levy is set to zero.  In other years, however the levy may cause an increase in customers' bills. This will be the case in October 2010.
 

The levy originally related to the recovery of additional costs incurred by the ESB in relation to the generation and/or purchase of the output from stations generating electricity using peat and renewable sources.  In relation to renewable sources there is an obligation on ESB under the Electricity Regulation Act 1999 and the PSO Order 2002 (S.I. No. 217 of 2002 as amended by S.I. 284 of 2008) to buy electricity generated in this way through the Alternative Energy Requirement (AER) schemes.  This requirement was put in place to ensure that a percentage of the country's available electricity is produced from indigenous fuel for security of supply reasons and to help protect the environment.  The purchase of electricity from these types of generation is considered to be in the public interest.  

The Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff (REFIT) scheme has replaced the AER and enables suppliers other than just ESB Customer Supply to draw down from the PSO fund.  The primary objective of the REFIT is to aid in ensuring that at least 1,450 megawats (MW) of renewable energy based generating plant are connected to the electricity network by 2010.  The REFIT terms and conditions are published on the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources website and are subject to change.  

The Commission calculates and certifies the costs covered by this levy on behalf of the Government.  The Transmission System Operator (TSO) and Distribution System Operator (DSO) are responsible for collecting the levy from suppliers, who in turn are responsible from collecting the levy from their customers.  The TSO is then responsible for ensuring that payments from the PSO fund are distributed correctly.

From 1st October 2010 the PSO levy has been set to the following rates (Ex VAT):

Domestic Customers: €32.76/ annum  or  €2.73/month
Small Commercial Customers (MIC less than 30 kva):  €99.03/annum or €8.25/month 

Unit Charge

The unit charge relates to the amount of electricity you use. The amount of electricity used is recorded in "units" each of which is equivalent to 1,000 watts of electricity used for one hour, and is known as kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Your unit charge may vary depending on what type of meter you have.  Some customers have the same unit charge for all of their electricity but others will see a different rate during the day when compared to the charge for electricity used at night if they have  a day/night meter.


I have a day/night meter.  Why is the day rate higher than the day rate of the 24 hour  tariff?

On the 1st November 2007, the CER launched the Single Electricity Market, (SEM). In the SEM, wholesale electricity supplies are bought by suppliers from an electricity Pool through which the bulk of electricity generation in the island of Ireland is sold. The price of electricity in the Pool varies in each half hour depending upon the type of generation that produces the electricity supply and its associated fuel costs. The cost of generation during day hours is higher than the cost of generation during night hours. Therefore, the day rate is slightly higher than the single rate on the 24 hour tariff as the day rate reflects the higher cost of generation during day hours only, whereas the single rate recovers the cost of generation during both day and lower priced night hours. The night units are charged at less than the day rate, incentivising customers to be more energy efficient by shifting their energy consumption away from the more expensive peak high demand day times to night time hours. There is a higher standing charge for day/night tariff to reflect the higher underlying non-energy costs such as network operation and maintenance, customer billing and services associated with providing this tariff.



Gas FAQs

What gas suppliers are operating in Ireland?

All providers and contact details: Gas Suppliers 


If I change supplier will I have to change my meter or pipework?

No. Gas Networks Ireland (formerly Bord Gais Networks) are responsible for installing and maintaining meters and the natural gas network for all customers.  If you switch supplier you will see no change in your natural gas service.


If I change supplier will I lose my natural gas allowance?

NO.  If you are in receipt of the Free Gas Allowance from the Department of Social and Family Affairs you will not lose your allowance  if you change supplier.  Customers who switch supplier will receive a monetary allowance instead of a deduction from their bill.


How do I get connected to a provider?

Please see our section on Getting Connected.


Why do I need to pay a security deposit and when will I get it back?

Customers who do not have a credit history with a supplier are asked to pay a deposit on their account. Each supplier’s policy varies.  SUppliers usually offer a reduced deposit for customers who opt to pay by direct debit.


How often is my meter read?

If you are a domestic gas customer your meter is physically read up to 4 times a year. However, this is not always possible and they may need to use estimated reads to calculate bills. This will always be clearly marked with a letter on your bill. 
E – Estimated bills based on previous consumption.


How can I avoid estimated bills?

If you receive a bill which has been estimated, you can contact your provider with an actual read from your meter and the bill will be adjusted. You may need to contact your provider for a key to your meter box.


How do I report a suspected gas leak?

The Gas Networks Ireland (formerly Bord Gais Networks) 24 hour Emergency Line is 1850 20 50 50


What is Carbon Monoxide?

For information on Carbon Monoxide or to arrange for a safety inspection call 1850 79 79 79

Further information is available from the safety section of the Gas Networks Ireland website (formerly Bord Gais Networks).


 

Where can I find out about Registered Gas installers?

Further information is available in the relevant section of the Registered Gas Installers of Ireland website . Note: The CER has appointed The Register of Gas Installers of Ireland (R.G.I.I.) as The Gas Safety Supervisory Body (GSSB).


General FAQs  


What does the CER do?

The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) is Ireland’s independent energy regulator. The CER was established in 1999 and now has a wide range of economic, customer protection and safety responsibilities in energy. These responsibilities are discussed in some more detail below. At a high-level, the CER’s overall mission is as follows:

In a world where energy supply and prices are highly volatile, the mission of the CER, acting in the interests of consumers is to ensure that:

the lights stay on,
the gas continues to flow,
the prices charged are fair and reasonable,
the environment is protected, and,
energy is supplied safely.‚Äč

In addition the CER is preparing for its expected new role as the economic regulator of the Irish public water and wastewater sector, anticipated to commence formally towards the end of 2013.


What Should I do if I have difficulties meeting my energy bills?  What steps should I take?

Should you, at any time, experience difficulties in meeting your energy bills we would encourage you to contact your supplier as soon as possible. The sooner a concern is raised, the sooner the supplier can offer assistance to you and allow you to manage your bills in a way that suits you better. 
We recommend that you draw up a budget plan to set out your weekly/monthly expenses. This will help you to decide how much you can afford to pay for your energy bills. This is an important step in managing any bill and assistance is available to do such. For example, a free and independent service is provided by the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS). MABS have 60 offices across the country, a free-phone number and a very helpful website providing budgeting tools and guides. Free information on consumer rights and personal finance is also available from the National Consumer Association. Further useful sites are listed here.

How can my supplier help me?

When you contact a supplier, they will treat you in a confidential and respectful manner. The supplier will be able to offer advice and assistance to allow you to better manage your bills. This could take the form of a tariff that may be better suited to your circumstances or a tailored payment plan. 

A payment plan allows you to pay back outstanding amounts in instalments. When offering you a payment plan to manage any outstanding amounts, the supplier must take into account your ability to pay. When offered a payment plan you should not agree to any plan that you cannot meet. However, if this does happen, you should contact your supplier as soon as possible to tell them that the payment plan is not working. They may offer you another payment plan. All through this process the supplier will treat you in a confidential and respectful manner. Should you wish a third party such as MABS to talk to the supplier on your behalf, the supplier will facilitate this. 

Where payments plans have not worked for you, you may wish to avail of a Pay As You Go meter. Where appropriate, suppliers will offer you a Pay As You Go meter free of charge. Like prepaid mobile phones, these Pay As You Go meters allow you to buy credit at your local shop and top up the meter in your home. The credit is then used to pay for the electricity or gas as you use it, rather than receiving a bill every two months. This may be helpful to you in managing your payments and avoiding arrears.

Further Help

Being aware of how you use energy in your home can be the first step to understanding your bills. The more energy efficient you are, the less energy you will use and be billed for. There are a number of websites which can help you with tips on how to be more efficient, grants which are available to upgrade your home and calculators which show how much energy your appliances use. 

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) was set up by the government in 2002 as Ireland's national energy agency. They have a role to promote energy efficiency. They provide general information on energy efficiency as well as administering a number of government funded grant schemes. More information can be found on their website. Click here for the SEAI website 

The Power of One is another government funded scheme to provide information on energy efficiency and assist customers in lowering their energy costs. More information can be found on their website. Click here for the Power of One website 

How do I claim free Gas or Electricity Allowance?

If you are in receipt of a pension or state benefit you may also qualify for a Free Gas or Electricity Allowance from the Department of Social and Family Affairs. If you are not already in receipt of this please contact the Free Schemes Section on 1890 50 00 00. This allowance can be obtained for either gas or electricity, but not for both, so it is advisable to assess which would be more beneficial to you before choosing one.


I have a problem with my bill, what can I do?

If you are experiencing difficulties with any aspect of your bill you should contact your supplier first to rectify the situation.


How do I make a complaint with my provider?

By Phone:

  1. Before calling your supplier or network operator, gather all relevant documentation e.g. your bill, your account details and any correspondence with the supplier or network operator.
  2. Have an idea of what outcome you want and how you want to put forward your argument.
  3. Make notes of your conversation including details of the name and title of the person you spoke to, the date of the call and any commitments or agreements that person makes including promises to call you back.

Tips:

  • Always take the name and department of the person you have spoken to and note the time and date.
  • Try to remain calm when putting your case forward. Do not lose your temper.
  • When you are making your call allow sufficient time as your call make take longer than you expect. Also leave time to write up notes at the end of the call so you remember all that is said.
  • If you receive verbal commitment to a resolution ask for the decision to be sent to you in writing.
  • If you receive a promise of a return call, make sure you have a firm time for the call.

By letter or email:

  1. Make sure you address your correspondence to the appropriate person. If you do not know who this is call your supplier to find out.
  2. Explain the issue in as much detail as necessary. Use facts that you have and enclose copies of any supporting documentation you may have.
  3. Explain what you see as the resolution to the issue.
  4. Make sure to include your account reference number and your address to allow a response.

Tips

  • Always keep a copy of correspondence you send or receive.
  • Do not send originals of related documents. Send a copy and retain the original.
  • If you do not receive a response to your correspondence phone to follow up.

What do I do if I’m not happy with the outcome of my complaint?

The Commission has a role to play in assisting you when you have difficulties dealing with your supplier or network operator. Once you have completed your suppliers complaint handling process you can send a letter of complaint into the Commission with your complaint reference number or alternatively call the Customer Care Team on 1890 404 404.

Should I trust price comparison websites?

Price comparison websites can be a useful tool in helping customers to compare suppliers' offers.  The Commission has an accreditation process for these websites to make sure they meet requirements about accuracy of information, presentation of information and that they are independent and impartial.  A Commission accredited website will show the CER logo on its homepage.  Click here for accredited price comparison websites.

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