We wrote about the great bargain that Centrica got when they agreed to pay just €150 million for the retail arm of Bord Gais Energy along with a brand new efficient gas powered electricity generator.
See our article from last week here. Bord Gais Bargain for Centrica
It finally looks like it might be investigated – but it’s probably too late to do anything about it now. The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, John McGuinness , has called for Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte to make a statement to the Dail detailing why taxpayers could have lost around €250m on the deal. But the deal is done and nothing can change it now.
The Whitegate power station that is included in the sale was built in 201o at a cost of €400 million.
Also included in the sale is the retail arm of Bord Gas Energy – which has about 700,000 customer accounts and is a well established profit making part of the Bord Gais Eireann business. The well known and trusted “Bord Gais Energy” brand name is also included in the deal – so Centrica can just carry on using it and customers will probably not even notice the change of owner.
For comparison – in the UK as recently as November 2013 there was a sale of energy customer’s accounts by Npower to Utility Warehouse. The deal was for £218m. (About €260Million) and it involved the sale of 770,000 gas and electricity accounts.
Centrica have picked up a similar number of Irish customers , a ready made brand and a fairly new power station for a total of just €150 Million. That does not seem right – but the government will probably say that the IMF told us we had to sell it and that was the best price we could get. They will say that we need the cash to pay off the debts.
Centrica have got a good deal and Bord Gas Energy will soon be adding to their massive profits (British Gas made £1 Bilion profit in 2013)
Other Changes Required
Because of the sale to Centrica – the main Bord Gais Eireann group will now have to change it’s name so that it is no longer associated with the Centrica owned “Bord Gais Energy”
Bord Gais Neteworks will become “Gas Networks Ireland” (or Gréasán Gáis Éireann)
The new name that has been name chosen for Bord Gais Eireann is Ervia .
Ervia will be the parent company of both Irish Water and “Gas Networks Ireland” Apparently the name “Ervia” is based on the Irish word “Éire” and the Latin word “via” and was chosen by staff.
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. which will be a large task and is expected to cost the state several million euro.
The rebranding of ESB to Electric Ireland is estimated to have cost somewhere between €5 million and €8 million in 2012.