On 1st July 2007 the market was fully opened to competition. This means that new suppliers can enter the market and compete for customers' business. The Commission encourages customers to shop around to ensure that they are getting the best value for their money. There are a variety of options available in terms of suppliers, types of tariffs and payment methods so choose the option which suits your needs best. There is no cost to change supplier and the process is quick and easy.
For more information on how to switch, please click here.
The Commission for Energy Regulation has responsibility for regulating the natural gas market in the Republic of Ireland. As Ireland has few natural gas resources, most of the gas consumed is bought on the international gas markets and imported through the natural gas network, or specifically through pipes which connect Ireland with Britian. Suppliers are responsible for selling gas to customers and Gaslink, the Independent System Operator, is responsible for ensuring that gas is transported safely, through pipelines directly into customer's homes. Bord Gáis Networks carries out a number of functions on behalf of Gaslink.
Sources of Natural Gas
Ireland’s natural gas comes from both indigenous production and imports. There are a number of operational gas fields off the coast of Ireland, Kinsale Head, Ballycotton and the Seven Heads fields are located off the coast of County Cork. There is also a new gas field located at Corrib off the west coast of Ireland. The development of this site is not yet completed. Due to the finite nature of gas, imports from abroad are very important to the market in Ireland.
Most of the gas consumed in Ireland is bought on the international gas markets and imported to Ireland through the natural gas network, or specifically through interconnection with Britain. As a result, Irish customers are exposed to fluctuations in international gas price and neither the Commission nor the gas suppliers have direct control of this part of the value chain.
Since 1st July 2007 the Republic of Ireland’s retail gas market has been open to competition and all gas customers are now eligible to switch their gas supplier. This represents over half a million domestic customers. Increased competition in the natural gas market can potentially offer a number of important benefits to consumers, including increased choice, greater efficiency, lower prices and higher standards of service. Competition developed successfully in the business end of the market, which has been fully deregulated. Competition also has developed steadily in the domestic market over recent years and it has now reached the point where deregulation is considered to be appropriate. As a result the Commission has announced that the domstic gas market will be deregulated from the 1st July 2014.
There are two types of gas pipelines operating around the country. The larger pipes which transport gas long distances are known as transmission pipes and the smaller pipes which bring gas from the transmission pipes to individual premises are known as distribution pipes.Ervia (owns the transmission and distribution systems in the Republic of Ireland. Gas Networks Ireland (formaerlyBord Gáis Networks) is the designated subsidiary within Ervia which constructs and extends the natural gas network in Ireland to the highest safety standards. Gas Networks Ireland connect all customers to the network regardless of which natural gas supply company the customer chooses. Additionally, Gas Networks Ireland will facilitate meter readings for customers.
The Commission and the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation (NIAUR) are currently working together to establish common arrangements for gas similar to the arrangements which have already been put in place in the electricity market. This project is in very early stages at this time.