Pay of CEO of Centrica (Owners of Bord Gais Energy)

There has been a fair bit of coverage in some of the media about  the “bonuses” or performance related pay of some Irish Water staff.
Irish Water  is a semi-state company -and there is a cap set by government on the salaries of CEOs of semi states (currently €250k a year for new appointments) Some semi state CEOs get more than this because they were in their posts before the cap was introduced.

The government though – has no control any more over pay arrangements for Bord Gais Energy staff  since it was sold off to Centrica (Owners of British Gas) back in the summer.

If you missed it – here are some more details of the BGE Sell Off to Centrica

It is interesting to see the amount of pay the CEO of Centrica gets.
Their new boss  is a man called Iain Conn  -  and his  a pay-and-shares package will be  £3.7m (€4.6m) this year . (This is less than his predecessor.)

Centrica has come under fire from politicians in the UK  as  average annual household energy bills there have soared from £819 to £1,353 in the past five years.  Consumer groups accuse the suppliers of profiteering.

Water – Did You Notice The Free Allowance was Abolished?

Amongst all the speeches and publicity about the government reducing the water charges – one very  important point seems to have slipped under the radar.
Under the original charging plan – every household got a free water allowance of 30,000 litres  (as long as a PPSN was provided) . This free allowance has now been abolished (That’s why they no longer need  PPS numbers) .

The rate per thousand litres has dropped by about 25% (from €4.88 to €3.70) – but the removal of the free allowance means that all metered charges  will now be higher than under the previous charging scheme.

See these two articles to compare calculations of metered bills under the Old Scheme and the New Scheme

The period for  capped charges hase been extended to 2019 – they were previously in place for 9 months after meter installation.  This is mostly beneficial to larger households because the new capped charges are significantly lower for households with 3 adults or more -  but such households are in the minority.
For the majority of households (with 1 or  2 adults)  the cap has only come down very slightly. For couples it has dropped  from €278 to €260. For single adult households the cap is cut from €176 to €160.

Many smaller households who are conservative with their use of water will be worse off financially under the new charging structure.
If we take the example of a single pensioner  over 70 with a water meter,  getting the Household Benefits Package. Under the old scheme they would have recieved a €100 “Water Support” payment from Social Welfare. Now they can get the same amount in the form of a “water conservation grant”.

Under the old scheme – if they used 51 thousand litres of water a year they would have got  a water bill for €102. WIth the water support payment – their net cost would have been  €2.

Under the new charging scheme – 51,000 litres of water (with no free allowance) will run up a metered charge of  €188 – which will be capped at €160. After the €100 “grant” is deducted it leaves them with a net cost of €60 ….. €58 a year more than under the old scheme.

Another example – a metered couple on low income getting the fuel allowance using 70,000 l of water a year. Under the old rules – this would result in a bill of  €195. After deducting the water support payment of €100 – they would have a net cost of €95.
Under the new rules with no free allowance – the metered bill would be €259 a year , just below the cap. They will be eligible for the €100 conservation grant which brings their net outlay to €159 for the year – €64 more than under the old scheme.

Another example  – someone on a fairly good income , metered with plenty of water saving devices and who harvests rainwater – so they only use 30000l of water a year.
Under the old set up – they would not be billed for water charges because they used no more than the 30k free allowance.

Under the new charging structure – the metered bill will be  €111  – but they will be eligible for €100 conservation grant. Net outlay €11 – compared to zero under the old scheme.

So  – as the government announce these “cuts” and the media call it a climbdown – it looks like the changes will not mean lower payments for everyone.

Revised Water Charges – The Details

Here is a summary of the revisions to the water charges – announced on November 19th 2014:

Water charges will now begin from January 1st 2015 (Not Oct 2014 as was in place).
First quarterly bills due in April/May 2015.

All water bills to be capped until Jan 2019. (Was previously for 9 months)

Maximum charge for single adult household will be €160 a year
Maximum charge for multiple adult households will be €260 a year.
People with just one service (water/waste) will pay half the above rates (€80 or €130)
Details Here

PPS numbers no longer required by Irish Water.

New deadline for “applications” is 2nd February 2015

Non registration will result in a “default” €260 annual bill.

A Flat rate “water conservation grant” of €100 a year per household can be claimed from the Dept of Social Welfare if the household has responded to Irish Water. (Even if not on mains water or on mains sewer). Payments are expected to begin in Sept 2015. More Here

Metered bills can (in theory) be lower than the above capped charges . But – no one will avoid getting a water bill because the free household allowance of 30,000 litres has been removed.

This removal seems to have gone unnoticed by most people. The government announcement highlighted a cut in the charge rates but no mention was made about the free allowance.

The metered unit charge has been reduced from €4.88 per cubic meter to €3.70 . (€1.85 for water only or sewage only.) See Metered Bill Calculatons Here

All children under 18 will get the 21000 litre allowance – even if they are not getting child benefit.

The system of rebates is still in place if after getting a meter your bills are less than what you were paying on the assessed charge.

Late Payment Penalty.
Late payment (over 1 year late) will result in a penalty of €30 for single adult households and €60 for bigger households.

Call Out Charges  – Irish Water will not be offering additional services such as leak location or repair past the meter (stopcock). So the issue of call out charges no longer arises.

First Fix Scheme – this is still as originally promised – details here.

Energia Promotional Code

Energia sometimes have  promotional codes that  get new customers further discounts on  their already cheap gas and electricity unit rates. 

The latest code is “USWITCH”  and it runs until the end of December 2014. It will get you an extra 1% off their already discounted rates. ( You get 17% off electricity and 16%  off gas.)

You can only get the promo code discounts  on the Energia Online Switching Page


We estimate that a typical urban home relying on gas for heating and hot water would use about 18000 KwH of gas a year. Electricity usage in such homes would typically be about 3500 Kwh a year.

If you switch online to Energia and  use this  promotional code (“USWITCH”)  This would result in a total cost  of  €1866 in the first year for someone using the amounts above.  . See full comparison here
This is the currently the best price for that usage when getting both fuels from a single supplier.

More Discount Codes Here

See Dual Fuel Comparison
Electricity Prices Compared 

Gas Price Comparison

Energia only began offering gas and electricity to residential customers in Ireland in January 2014 and they already have 60,000 residential customers.

The main thing to realise is – that if you are stuck on old ESB/Bord Gais standard rates you can save significant amounts by changing your supplier or even just by switching to paying by Direct Debit and getting eBills.