Unlimited Electricity – Is it Too Good to be True ?

There is a new competitor in the household energy market in Ireland  – a Canadian company called Just Energy. A subsidiary of their  parent company has been operating in the UK  for about 4 years as Green Star Energy .

Just Energy Ireland have an electricity tariff called Unlimited. Now we all know how the word “unlimited” has been abused in the past by some broadband and phone companies. Unlimited offers can sometimes come with terms and conditions or fair usage policies that results in caps.

The JustEnergy.ie website says that you can ” Fix your bill for 12 months, no matter how much you use.
Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it ?

How does the Unlimited Tariff work?
Before you can sign up to the Just Energy Unlimited electricity tariff – you have to tell them your current annual usage and  possibly provide your old bills to back this up.  Then – based on your previous annual usage – they will give you a set price for the next year. Customers will not be accepted on the unlimited tariff if their current annual electricity usage is above 10400 kwh.  You will also have to provide monthly meter readings.

Just Energy set the annual prices within various usage bands – their website shows “estimated” prices if you request a quote – for example using 4200 kwh comes up with an estimated annual bill of €894.77.
The figures provided by Bonkers are higher – which is strange.  The difference is the PSO levy – so either Bonkers.ie are adding it in twice or Just Energy are not including it.

Just Energy Unlimited Sample Pricing by bands  : (From Bonkers.ie)
4001 kwH to 4400 Kwh  = €998 a year
4401 kwH to 4800 Kwh = €1059 a year
4801 kwH to 5200 kwH = €1121 a year
6801 kwH  to 7200 kwH = €1427 a year
etc…

So – according to Bonkers.ie – if you are an average usage household using 4200 kwh of electricity a year you would be charged €998 a year (€879 plus VAT).
This is currently €225 more expensive than switching to Energia ( €773) . See Prices Here

With the Just Energy unlimited tariff – you would have some scope to use more than 4200 Kwh in a year and still pay the same. But it is not clear from Just Energy website exactly how much more you could increase usage before they ask you to reduce it or move you over to their standard variable tariff.

But – even if an average user increased usage from 4200 to 5800kwh – they would still be slightly better off with Energia’s cheapest  deal paying €996 – compared to the €998 on the the Just Energy unlimited plan .

It is not currently very clear if Just Energy would even tolerate an increase in usage as big as that.

Information on Bonkers.ie says “If Just Energy thinks that your consumption is likely to go above or below your assigned consumption band, they’ll contact you and offer you the choice of moving into a new band (which will come with a different rate), or rolling onto its standard variable rate.”

If this is correct – then the idea of it being “unlimited” is a bit of  ajoke really. The bands are quite narrow – so it would be easy to exceed the upper limit.

We have seen reports that Just Energy are saying that a 10,400 “cap” applies to all unlimited plans – and that even if you exceed that , you will not be charged anymore.
But – you would probably not be allowed to renew your unlimited contract after the first year.

Overall – we feel that the unlimited plan is not a good idea:

  • For most people it will cost more than the cheaper deals available , even if you do increase usage substantially (over 30%)
  • Also – is it really such a good thing to be encouraging consumers to use more electricity at a time when we are generally being urged to cut our energy use ?
  • One final disadvantage is that if you reduce your usage , you will not benefit from lower bills on the unlimited plan.

If you want to check prices from other Electricity providers you can see our latest information on Best deals on Electricity here.

 

Just Energy Unlimited

 

Energia Promotional Code

Energia promotional codes are sometimes available  that enable new customers to get extra discounts on their  gas and electricity rates when signing up online.


energia promotional codes

The latest Energia Promotional code (Updated 11th September 2017)  for Dual fuel is –  CHEAPDUAL . Using this code online will get you  29% off their electricty rates and 28% off gas PLUS a €50 credit to your account.

We estimate that a medium sized urban household with  gas for both heating and hot water would use about 11000 KwH of gas a year. Electricity usage in such a home would typically be about  4200 Kwh a year.

If this type of household has never switched,  and are still paying energy bills by cheque or cash ,their annual fuel bill would be a total of €1725 a year.

Switching to Energia  direct on the Energia website and using the Promo Code CHEAPDUAL would end up costing that household  €1378  in the first year. (Paying by Direct Debit).
This is saving of €348 and works out as  the cheapest dual fuel deal in Ireland over one year  for average usage at the time of writing.


The next best dual fuel bundle deal would be if this household switched both fuels online to  SSE Airtricity  –  the cost would work out at €1408 in year one when their €200 cashback offer is included.

See  our Dual Fuel Price Comparison for some more figures.

The current Energia promotional code (Sept 2017)  for Electricity is CHEAPELEC .
If you enter that code on the Energia Ireland Website you will get 29%  off their standard electricity rate for 12 months  – PLUS €50 cashback.
This works out as thebest deal for Electri Ireland customers on the standard rates with  average usage. It would work out at €773 – which is  €197 cheaper over 12 months compared to staying on Electric Ireland’s standard rates.

Figures checked September 11th 2017

Electricity Prices Compared 

Gas Price Comparison

More Discount Codes Here

Energia only began offering gas and electricity to residential customers in Ireland in January 2014 and they already supply electricity to about 65,000 customers and gas to around 35,000 .

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.

 

Electricity and Gas Price Comparison

What are the Cheapest Options For Switching Both Gas and Electricity Providers in Ireland ?

Hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland have never switched energy providers. Recent figures show that  more than half of electricity and gas customers  have never switched supplier.
Doing a comparison of  Electricity and Gas Prices shows that for average households – switching energy supplier could cut energy bills by as much as €425 in just one year.

Question : How many hours would you have to work to earn  €425 in take home pay ? (Answer: About 40 hours for someone on €28k a year).

Note: The price comparisons below are based on what might be typical usage in a medium sized house, using gas for both heating and hot water. ( 11000 Kwh of  Gas and 4200 kwH of Electricity a year .)
We have assumed that the household is currently on the standard rate of Electricity with Electric Ireland and on the standard rate for gas with Bord Gais Energy. The current charge for both would be €1725 a year in this scenario if paying bills as received ,not by direct debit.


Switching Dual Fuel – Same Supplier :

The best switching deal for a dual fuel bundle in this scenario is on the  Energia website using the  promo code CHEAPDUAL . You will get €50 cashback and 29% off their standard electricity rate and 28% off gas.
This deal will work out at €1378  in the first year – a saving of €348 .

The next best offer is from  SSE Airtricity at €1408 in year one . A saving of €318 . This is their 10% discount offer with €200 cashback. Available via Switcher.ie


Switching to Separate Suppliers for Gas and Electricity  :

GAS:
The best option,  if you are currently on Bord Gais standard rates ,   is to switch your gas over to  Electric Ireland . In the first year this would work out at €527  (this includes €175 cashback).  This is a saving of  €228 in year one compared to the €755 cost on Bord Gais Energy standard rates.

Other prices – Flogas €614 ; SSE Airtricity €681 )

ELECTRICITY:
If you switch to Energia for electricity through their website using the promo code “CHEAPELEC” you will get 29% off their standard rates plus €50 cashback.  This would work out as the lowest priced deal over the first year,  at  €773 .  This would be a saving in year one of €197 compared to staying on Electric Ireland’s standard rates.

This combination of two separate energy providers will work out at a total of €1300 in year one. A saving of €425 in year one compared to staying on the standard rates with Electric Ireland and Bord Gais Energy.

Alternatives:  – If you are already with Energia for Electricity and with Electric Ireland for your Gas – then the cheapest option would be to switch your electricity to Electric Ireland (€733 inc €175 cashback) and your natural gas to Flogas (€614). This would work out in the first year at a  total of  €1295 .

You can check other supplier prices for your usage on the useful  Switcher.ie website

But – note that the Energia promocode and cashback offer is only available direct with Energia Online

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

See our Electricity Price Comparison Here

The main message is – if you are have never switched and are still on the standard rates from Electric Ireland or Bord Gais Energy  – then switching provider can save you significant amounts of money.
You should try and treat energy supply like car insurance – shop around when the 1 year contract is over and get a better deal. It only takes a few minutes to fill a form in and it could save you a few hundred euros each year.

Switching supplier does not involve any wiring changes, pipe changes or disconnections. It just means that a different company is administering your bills. It is still the same electricity and gas coming into your house.

Figures  were calculated  to the nearest euro  Sept 11th 2017   using published tariffs and standing charges on suppliers websites and including VAT, the PSO Levy on Electricity  and Carbon Tax on Gas. Cashback offers included in calculations.
The prices given are for new customers only .

More Money Saving Tips Here

How to Switch

When you  switch electricity suppliers you will need your  MPRN . This is an 11-digit number printied on your electricity bill. If you don’t have it, you can get it by calling ESB Networks on 1850 372 757.

If you’re switching gas suppliers they will need your GPRN . This is a 7-digit number printied on your gas bill. If you don’t have it, you can get it by calling Gas Networks Ireland on 1850 200 694.

You can make things easier by using an online energy switching site such as Switcher.ie to compare prices for your personal fuel usage . Sometimes they have exclusive offers that are even better than what you can get by going direct to the energy companies.

Important :  the comparison sites don’t include cashback offers in their calculations – but they do mention them. So make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals by manually adding any cashback offers onto the total savings to work out the cheapest deal  for you.

You could obviously save even more money on your electricity bills by just cutting your energy usage . 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.

 

Ryanair Baggage Charges and Fees 2017

Updated with the latest Ryanair Baggage Charges and Fees 2017

Ryanair announced some changes to their baggage limits and charges in September 2017. Some of the hand luggage changes  take effect from 1st November 2017 – but some changes have already started.

Hand Luggage
The change that attracted the most publicity was that Ryanair will no longer allow larger hand luggage in the cabin unless passengers pay for Priority Boarding.  (€5 per flight, €10 Return) More details on the New Ryanair Hand Luggage Rules here.

Checked Baggage Charges:

Ryanair’s checked baggage allowance is still up to 3 bags per person,  weighing up to 20kg each plus cabin luggae of upto 10kg. (See above)

The option of selecting checked bags with a weight of 15kg or less has been removed and now there is just one baggage weight option of “up to 20Kg “

The Ryanair website says the charges for a 20kg checked luggage now range from €25 to €40 per leg of a journey for each checked in bag .   They also mention that at” peak times and on certain destinations  a €10 supplement will be charged per flight” . But the bagggae terms and conditions also say ….
“Fees may vary from time to time but it is the rates in force at the time you book and/or pay for your checked baggage allowance which apply.

So basically – you will be charged whatever price they decide to set on the day you book.

We have noticed  in recent months –  that Ryanair were adjusting baggage prices in a similar way to flight prices. In many examples we looked at – the busy, popular flights had more expensive baggage fees. Or – maybe another way of looking at it is that booking early on less popular flights could mean cheaper baggage charges.

The checked baggage fees will be be cheaper if you book them online at the same time as you book the flight.  Adding bags online after you have booked can cost €10 more per flight  and paying at the airport will cost more again. It is supposed to be a maximum of €50 for a 20kg bag .

Tip – Using the Ryanair App  : We have  seen that that booking bags online afterwards sometimes gives different prices to using the App.  Sometimes the App will be cheaper – by as much as €20 a bag.


Here are  some examples we found of Ryanair Baggage Charges  booked online  at the same time as booking the flight . (Checked Sept 2017) .

All figures are shown in Euro – but for UK customers it will be the same figure but in Pounds. (I.e – no currency conversion)

Domestic Flights Less that 2 hours: (UK/Ireland flights are classed as domestic)

Bags up to 20kg there seem to be four  possible charges from €10 to €25
€10
Off peak not busy
€15  Off peak busier
€20  “Mid Peak” i.e Weekend flights out of season
€25  High Peak Times (Christmas – Summer -Easter)


International  Flights

Again the actual price charged varies depending on factors such as how popular the flight is , the time of year or the day of the week.

We found charges varied from €15 to €35 per bag per flight.
€15  Short Haul Off Peak
€25  Long Haul Off peak or Short Haul Peak
€35  Long haul + Peak Periods

There may well be other prices – but in our short survey of about 10 flights that is all we found.
We didn’t find any baggage charges higher than €35 per flight  when we looked – and we checked peak season flights to places such as Tenerife . It is possible the baggage prices will increase as flight dates get closer.

Paying for a 20kg bag at the airport could possibly cost as much as  €20 more – so you could end up paying as much as €60 (€120 for a return trip) for one 20kg  bag.

 

Peak times would typically be  Easter ;  1 June to 30  Sept  ;    &  from 21 Dec to 4 Jan inc.

Baby Items – with Ryanair , 2 items of baby equipment are carried free of charge per child – 1 pushchair plus one of the following items: car seat or booster seat or travel cot.

Ryanair Excess baggage charges are a massive €10 per kg per flight.


Hand luggage on Ryanair:

Since the start of 2014 Ryanair started allowing 2 items of hand luggage. The first bag has a maximum size of  55cm x 40cm x 20cm   – the second is supposed to be a handbag or laptop or a shopping bag (up to 35cm x 20cm x 20cm).

Changes : From November 1st 2017  – Ryanair say that Non Priority Boarding customers will only be allowed to bring one smaller carry-on bag on board the plane. Any bigger bags will have to be placed in the hold .  All cabin bags must be brought to the boarding gate where the bigger one will be placed in the hold. If you only have one bag and it is bigger than 35cm x 20cm x 20cm-  it will have to go in the hold.

Ryanair state that if  non-priority customers refuse to put their bag in the hold , they will not be allowed to travel and will not get a refund.

Priority Boarding passengers will still  be allowed to bring two carry-on bags on the aircraft. Priority boarding  costs €5/£5 per person per flight at the time of booking  – so €10/£10 for a return trip. (It will cost €6/£6 if purchased later.)  More Information Here

Ryanair T&Cs


Alternatives:   A useful luggage delivery service is provided by Send My Bag . They will collect your bags from your house and deliver them to your destination overseas. (Door to Door) . This does mean you will have to send the bags a few days before you travel – but the prices are reasonable and it means you can travel light!  It could also mean cheaper and easier  transfers at the destination. Getting a bus without large bags is much easier and will usually be much cheaper than a taxi.  Walking will be an option too. Ryanair  allow 3 bags  each per person  – so if you are going for a long stay and have a lot of baggage it might be better to send it with SendMyBag.
It’s also a very good idea for long distance ferry and train travellers – you will have no heavy bags to lug around.    It can also sometimes work out cheaper and less hassle for larger items such as bikes , ski equipment or golfing gear.
Check out the prices for various destinations on the SendMyBag Website


For comparison – Aer Lingus  baggage charges booked online  are as follows:

Bags up to 15kg cost €20 per flight ( Ireland/UK/Paris )
Bags up to 15kg cost €35 per flight ( Mid distance)
Bags up to 15kg cost €50 per flight (  Longer Flights)

Bags up to 20Kg cost €25 per flight ( Ireland/UK / Paris)
Bags up to 20Kg cost €40 per flight ( Mid distance )
Bags up to 20Kg cost €55 per flight ( Longer flights)

Bags up to 25Kg cost €30 per flight ( Ireland/UK / Paris)
Bags up to 25Kg cost €45 per flight ( Mid distance )
Bags up to 25Kg cost €60 per flight ( Longer flights)

A fully collapsible push-chair/stroller is allowed free of charge with Aer Lingus for an infant or child booking, plus one of the following items: car seat, booster seat or travel cot.

Flybe – who also do several routes out of Dublin and Knock  – charge  €30 per flight for bags up to 15kg  and €31 for bags between 15 and 20kg.

Of course  – if you are going to the UK  or France you could avoid all baggage charges by using the Ferries  instead.   See Irish Ferries or Stena