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

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.

Just Energy also have some Fixed Rate tarrifs for Electricity – which might be worth considering. The unit rate is fixed for 12 months – so you will be protected from price rises for a year. The rates will not be the cheapest on the market – but it seems energy prices always go up , so it could be worth going for a fixed rate.

You can see the Just Energy price plans and compare to other suppliers on the Switcher.ie website

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