Electricity and Gas Prices Compared

What are the Cheapest Options For Switching Gas and Electricity    April 19th  2014:

Based on “average”  usage  of 13800 Kwh of  Gas and 5300 kwH of Electricity a year – we have calculated the lowest   annual costs from the combinations of various providers… (new customers only)

If you use separate suppliers  – the  cheapest option  currently for switchers  is to use Electric Ireland for electricity and Flogas for gas. (Both with direct debit and online billing)  . Electric Ireland are currently offering  €50 credit on new accounts if you sign up before the end of April – and when this is taken into account this combination of providers  would work out at a total of  €1860  for the first year. Note - Electric Ireland will charge €50 if you leave within 12 months. From May 1st this combination will cost over €1910 a year

Note: If you are already with Electric Ireland – you can’t get this cashback offer .

Energia have the lowest price for dual fuel when switching to them as your sole energy  supplier  – both fuels would cost  €1920 in the first year. (It is a 1 year contract with a €100 penalty if you leave early). 

Avoid :  The most expensive dual fuel option we could find was  from Airtricity costing  €2234  for the usage shown above. ( An extra €324 a year compared to the cheapest option)

See our Electricity Price Comparsion

The main message is – if you are have never switched and are still on Electric Ireland’s or Bord Gais’ standard rates – 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 April 19th 2014  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 saving energy and – such as 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.

Ervia will be the new name for Bord Gais Eireann

It was a bit confusing when Bord Gais was chosen to run Irish Water – reminding us of that Father Ted episode where the most boring priest in the world was telling Jack how he “runs the gas off the electricity and the electricity off the gas” . Now we would have the gas company running the water!

But – any confusion will end because Bord Gais will cease to exist in a few months and will be renamed ERVIA.  This has to happen because the Bord Gais Energy retail division along with the brand name  is being sold to Centrica.    Details Here

So -  the main Bord Gais Eireann group will have to change it’s name so that it is no longer associated with  “Bord Gais Energy”. The new name that has been chosen for Bord Gais Eireann is Ervia .
Apparently the name “Ervia” is based on the Irish word “Éire” and the Latin word “via” (meaning road) – and was chosen by staff.

Bord Gais Networks will become “Gas Networks Ireland” (or Gréasán Gáis Éireann)

Ervia will be the parent company of both Irish Water and “Gas Networks Ireland”

The minister for Energy has said that “Ervia will simply be a corporate name. The main interactions with customers and the public will be through Irish Water and Gas Networks Ireland. Therefore, there is no strategy to advertise or market the Ervia name and the costs of rebranding will be kept to a minimum. ”

Still – we know there will need to be a massive exercise to remove any mention of Bord Gais from anything that has not been sold off and replace it with “Gas Networks Ireland”. All the paperwork , signage, websites etc etc. will need changing – which will be a large task and is expected to cost the state several thousands of euro.

The decision was written into law in March 2014  but the name was decided on back in 2013. The domain name ervia.com was registered by Bord Gais Eireann in November 2013. Ervia.ie  was registered in October 2013.

Water Charges – The Latest Leaks

A final decision on water charges will not be made until at least August by the Commission for Energy Regulation. They will be taking into account submissions from Irish Water and others as well as input from government regarding the fee structure.

There was a discussion this week by the Cabinet about water charges – and some of the figures were “leaked” to the press.
Now – it isn’t long until the local elections and this could just be an attempt to get some good (or bad)  publicty for one of the parties.
The figures that were leaked mentioned “average” water charges of €240 a year. Maybe they thought this would be good news – because it was lower than some of the figures that had been mentioned over the past year or so.  A day earlier there were media reports on Irish Water wanting to have a standing charge of €100 – but the “leaked” figures mentioned a €50 standing charge . More good news ?
Fine Gael were also quick to point out in the Dail and on their website that a few years ago Fianna Fail were talking about bringing in water charges of €400 a year.  They couldn’t have mentioned that if the figures weren’t leaked.
Labour appeared to be slightly surprised by the figures as if it was all new to them – and they made a point of disagreeing with them – again proabably just a vote winning exercise.

One  figure that has been confirmed by Enda Kenny is the €537 million that   Irish Water will get each year from the government in 2015 and 2016. This is apparently the maximum they can give them if Irish Water is to remain classified as a commercial State company.

We had a go earlier in the year at working out how much the Water Charges might be  - and came up with an average figure of  €370 a year. That was simply based on an expected Irish Water revenue of €500 million from the estimated 1.35 million homes on the public water system.

An average water charge figure of €240 (including a €50 standing charge) has been mentioned by Enda Kenny and others in the Dail.
If that figure is based on the number of homes connected to the public water system – then the total annual revenue of Irish Water  from domestic customers would be  €324 million.

Other figures that have been mentioned are a free annual water  allowance of 30,000 litres per adult and 38,000 litres per child. Metered charges per litre would kick in after that usage was reached – probably on a daily basis (82l per day for an adult)
(The average usage per adult is estimated to be about 55,000 Litres  a year.)

To work out all these free allowances – Irish Water will need to know how many people live in each house and what age  they are. That could be another costly data gathering exercise.
Until meters are installed there will be an “assessed” charge  which will probably be based on house size and/or occupants.

Also – there will need to be a standing charge for the supply of water and also for a public sewage connection.  Not all homes have both.  There are about 280,000 homes that are vacant or holiday homes – so these will only be paying the standing charge. If these homes have been included in the calculations – that  means the average charge for an occupied home will be more than €240

Hopefully it will all become crystal clear by August?

By then – Irish Water will probably be no longer part of Bord Gais because Bord Gais will have been renamed Ervia  and the Bord Gais brand will be in use by Centrica who are buying Bord Gais Energy – more about that here

What Happens if You are Affected by Setanta Insurance Collapse?

The Setanta Insurance Twitter page says …. “Our aim is to change insurance for good for the benefit of our broker partners and their customers.”

Well that hasn’t worked out too well for their 75,000 customers because this week Setanta have announced that on 16th April – it’s Board of Directors determined that the Company was insolvent. This means that the Company does not have sufficient funds to be able to honour its full obligations towards claimants, policyholders and other creditors.

Setanta Insurance operated through brokers in Ireland since 2007 -  but was based in Malta. They were not regulated by the Irish Central Bank – (maybe that is something people should check with brokers in future before they take out car insurance?)
Some people may not even be aware that they are insured with Setanta – especially if they just signed whatever their broker sent them. All customers of Setanta should have recieved a letter in January of this year about them ceasing to take on new business.

Problems with Setanta Insurance became obvious back in January when they announced thay had ceased carrying on the business of insurance, including the renewal of existing business with effect from close of business of 24th January 2014.

What can people do who have car insurance with Setanta Insurance?

The Central Bank of Ireland has issued a statement saying that Setanta Insurance is a Maltese incorporated company subject to prudential supervision in Malta by the Maltese Financial Services Authority (MFSA). Its financial position is not supervised by the Central Bank of Ireland and the Central Bank has no role in that regard. ”

The Central Bank also added that policyholders may “wish to consider their right to cancel their policy and seek alternative insurance coverage. It is therefore important that you review your position with regard to your insurance cover.”
Is your Car Insurance still Valid?

Setanta Insurance have said that…..  “all existing policies are still in force, but full payments of claims by the Company cannot be guaranteed. The Company may cancel your motor insurance policy, however cancellation notification as applicable in terms of the Central Bank of Ireland’s Consumer Protection Code 2012 provides for a two months‘ notice of cancellation during which period cover will remain in force.”

So – until a formal cancellation is sent – customers of Setanta are still legally insured and can still drive your vehicle on the road.

If I cancel my Policy will I get any refund?
Setanta say that they are “not in a position to guarantee pro rata return of premiums. ”

What about Claims?
Setanta cannot guarantee to payout on any claims  – but there is an Insurance Compensation Fund run by the Central Bank that could be used to help claimants. This  Fund is there to facilitate payments to policyholders  where an Irish authorised or an EU authorised non-life insurer goes into liquidation. (High Court approval has to be obtained for such payments.)

Maximum 65% Payout
The maximum  amount that may be paid out of the Insurance Compensation Fund is 65% of the sum due to the policyholder or €825,000 whichever is the less.  The fund cannot pay any sum due to a commercial policyholder -  unless the sum is due in respect of a liability to an individual.

Paid by Card? It may be possible for  Setanta Insurance customers who paid out a full 12 months premium with a debit or credit card – to get a refund via  “chargeback”  from the card provider. See our article about Debit and Credit Card Chargeback.  The chargeback can still be claimed when a company has ceased trading.

Check our latest article on Irish Car Insurance Prices here

 Contact Details for  Setanta Insurance Services Limited:

Suite 6, Plaza 255 , Blanchardstown Corporate Park , Ballycoolin , Dublin 15, Ireland

Phone: 0818 255 255 (if calling from outside RoI please dial +353 1 897 6300)

Email: support@setantainsurance.com

The Malta Financial Services Authority can be contacted on 00356 2548 5700