Water Conservation Grant – The Details

A new  annual  “Water Conservation Grant”  was revealed as part of the revised Water Charges that were announced on Nov 19th 2014
The government are promoting this so called grant  as a payment that can be used towards repairing leaks or other methods of reducing water usage  such as buying water saving products.
If everyone who is eligible claims this grant – it could  result in a total payout of around €160 million a year.

To be eligible for the water conservation grant,  you need to have completed a “valid ” response to the Irish Water registration campaign. You do not need to be a customer of Irish Water – because the grant is also available to people with private wells and/or septic tanks etc.

The “grant” will not be available for second homes.

The water conservation grant payment will be an annual  flat rate of  €100 a year and will be paid in a lump sum each year directly to bank accounts. The grant payments are not expected to be up and running until  September 2015. It is planned to run to at least 2018 – then the whole charging structure is up for review.

In April 2015 it was announced that people had to register with Irish Water by June 30th 2015 to get the grant.

How to Apply for the Water Conservation Grant

In August 2015 it was announced that  all households that had registered their principal private residence with Irish Water by 30 June 2015 will receive a letter from the Dept of Social Protection  informing them how to apply for the Water Conservation Grant.These letters will be sent out between 19 August 2015 and the end of September 2015.

Once you have recieved one of these letters you will be able to apply online for the grant at www.watergrant.ie or by  calling the Water Conservation Grant Support Team  on 0761 087 890  or  1890 100 043.  There is no postal application process.

The closing date for applications for the 2015 Water Conservation Grant is 8 October 2015.

There will be a number unique to your household called the Water Point Reference Number and a  second number unique to the person registered with Irish Water. On the letter from Social Protection there will be another number you will require – the TIN  or Transaction Identification Number.  You will also be asked for your PPS number when claiming this water grant.

You will be asked to confirm that the application is for your primary residence and to “make a statutory declaration that you have no outstanding bills for the provision of water services.”

The first water grant payment will issue before the end of  October  2015 and then it is planned to pay it in the first quarter of each subsequent year of operation of the Grant.

It is likely that many thousands of better off households won’t bother making a claim for this water grant. They will probably see it as too much hassle for the sake of €100.


Electricity and Gas Prices Compared

What are the Cheapest Options For Switching Both Gas and Electricity ?
Updated August  25th 2015:

All price comparisons are  based on “average”  usage  of 13800 Kwh of  Gas and 5300 kwH of Electricity a year .

Dual Fuel – Same Supplier :

The  current best dual fuel deal from a single supplier is from  Energia  when you use a special online only promotional code (“SAVEME338″) to get an extra 20%  discount off their electricity rate and 17% off their gas unit rates for a full year . This would result in a total cost  of  €1855 in the first year for someone using the amounts above. (This code expires on 39th September ). Online Sign up Only


The next best priced deal  for  switching both fuels to one supplier is  from Electric Ireland.  The semi-state company’s dual fuel bundle would  cost €1901 in year one for the above usage when you include the €30 cashback fro switching online HERE.

SSE Airtricity’s bundle  would work out at  €1916 in the first year.

Bord Gais Energy’s dual fuel bundle works out at €1959 in year one. But they also offer €75 of Tesco vouchers and a free boiler service too.

To get these lower prices with any of the suppliers you have to pay by direct debit and have online billing.

Using Separate Suppliers :

If you want to get your gas and electricity from separate providers – the best overall deal is available by switching to Flogas for gas  and to SSE Airtricity for your Electricity (€20 cashback)
This combination will work out at  €1025 for electricity and €798 for gas  – a  total of €1823 in year one.

See our Electricity Price Comparison Here

The main message is – if you are have never switched and are still on old standard rates from Electric Ireland or Bord Gais Energy  – then switching provider can save you significant amounts of money. Even staying with the same supplier and going with payment by direct  debit and electronic billing can get you a reduced price.

Figures  were calculated  to the nearest euro  August 26th  2015  using published tariffs and standing charges on suppliers websites and including VAT, the PSO Levy on Electricity  and Carbon Tax on Gas.
The prices given are for new customers only .

You could obviously save even more money on your electricity bills by cutting  energy use . For  example –  switching any halogen downlighters to Gu10 LED  Low Energy Bulbs (Savings as much as 90%  compared to Halogen 50 watt!)

Insulating your home can also cut your energy bills – see our article about grants for insulation.


Prepay Mobile Data Charges in Ireland Compared

These has been a massive increase in the use of smartphones in Ireland  – it is estimated there were 2.7 million active smartphone SIMS at the start of 2015.
These smartphones are used for much more than simply talking or texting – you can check emails ,  go on Facebook or Twitter , use one of the thousands of apps or just browse the internet. With apps like Viber, Skype and Whatsapp – people are using the internet to keep in touch instead of actually calling someone.

Of course – there are charges for all the data you download or upload  with your smartphone – and these charges can soon mount up if you are not careful or choose a bad price plan for your needs.  While you are connected  using WiFi at home or in a pub/restaurant etc – that data usage will not be charged to your top up credit – so use WiFi whenever possible.  If you are worried about your credit being eaten up by data  downloads – it is is a good idea to turn off  mobile data on your smartphone.

Data and Internet charges on Pay as You Go mobile  packages in Ireland vary quite a bit across the different network providers. 
We have had a quick check of the data costs of the main mobile networks in Ireland to see which ones give the best value for money.

48Months For €15 a month  you can get 15Gb of data a month plus 50 mins of calls to mobiles and 100 texts.  For €20 you get 8Gb of data , unlimited calls and  texts to mobiles. With 48 you can only use what your sign up for  – there is no credit that can be accidentally used up by accidental data downloads. (which is a good thing) . It’s aimed at 18 to 22 year olds – but no formal checks are made. You can Order a Free Sim from the 48 Months Website

Meteor : Meteor have a prepay option of €10 a month that gives you  7.5Gb of data (no calls or texts) Or you can opt for a €20  top up a month  to get 7.5Gb plus either unlimited calls or unlimited texts to any network.

The latest addition to the Irish mobile market is IdMobile. You can get 20Gb of data a month on their prepay option  for €24.50 plus you get 500 call mins and 250 texts.

Tesco Mobile     have a pay as you go option of paying €15 to get free calls – then you can spend the €15  credit on 1Gb of data (€5)    and  unlimited texts (€10)

Three Ireland are offering  a   pre-pay deal with  “all you can eat ” data per month  when you top up by €20 a month. (There is a 15GB fair usage limit). Or you can buy a 1Gb data add on for €10.15.(lasts 1 month). Beware though – if you don’t top up by €20 or buy a data add-on  the charge is a massive €1.10 per Mb

Vodafone    – you can get 5Gb of data  and free Vodafone calls and texts for €10  if you top up by €20.

Figures checked August 2015 

See more here about which network has the cheapest pay as you go deals for calls and texts.