Energy

Your complete guide to gas and electricity in Ireland

Here’s how to make sense of the energy market, find the best gas and electricity prices, save energy and cut bills.

Part 1

Ireland’s energy market

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Part 2

Types of plans and tariffs

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Part 3

Compare gas and electricity prices

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Part 4

How to switch your supplier

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Part 5

Save energy and cut bills

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Part 1

Ireland’s energy market

Gas and electricity providers in Ireland

There are 11 active gas and electricity suppliers covering all regions in Ireland.

Most suppliers offer gas and electricity, but some focus solely on renewable electricity or provide pay-as-you-go energy only.

The number of suppliers and absence of a price cap ensures price competition is high and introductory discounts are on offer for most residential customers.

Electricity prices in Ireland

The price of electricity is ever-changing because both global and national factors dictate the cost of your electricity bill.

The cost of electricity depends not only on the supply and wholesale cost but on other factors like the PSO Levy, VAT and what type of plan you’re on.

Currently, the cheapest electricity plan in Ireland based on an estimated annual bill (EAB) is €1,938, so an average electricity customer could save up to €181 a year by switching from a standard tariff to the cheapest deal on the market.

windfarm green energy

What is the PSO Levy?

The Public Service Obligation Levy (PSO Levy) has to be paid by all electricity customers and covers the costs of generating sustainable and renewable energy in Ireland. The PSO Levy is set annually and used by the Government to meet its national policy objectives of providing:

  • renewable energy
  • indigenous fuels
  • security of electricity supply

Gas prices in Ireland

The price we pay for gas, like electricity, fluctuates depending on what’s happening in the global markets and closer to home. As well as wholesale and network costs, Carbon Tax and VAT is added to bills.

Although gas prices have been escalating recently, the good news is that if you’ve been on a standard tariff for over 12 months, you can likely reduce the costs by switching.

Currently, the cheapest electricity plan in Ireland, based on an estimated annual bill (EAB) is €1,663 so an average gas customer could save up to €201 a year by switching from a standard tariff to the cheapest deal on the market.

carbon tax levy

What is the Carbon Tax?

The Carbon Tax is based on the amount of carbon dioxide a fuel emits when it is used. It’s applied to carbon-emitting fuels such as oil, natural gas, coal and peat.

Gas suppliers in Ireland are obliged to add a carbon tax charge to all customers’ bills. For the average Irish household, the carbon tax adds around €93 to your annual gas bill. You’ll also pay Carbon Tax at the pump, on home heating oil and coal.

Electricity

What’s the average electricity bill?

The average annual electricity bill on a standard tariff in Ireland is €2,120 if you live in a typical three-bedroomed house. Read more >

Gas

What’s the average gas bill?

The average annual gas bill on a standard tariff in Ireland is €1,864 if you live in a typical three-bedroom house. Read more >

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Part 2

Types of energy plans and tariffs

Most gas and electricity providers offer variable rate tariffs, which means that prices can go up and down and the price quoted when you apply may not stay the same.

There are currently no fixed-rate energy plans on the market, and with prices rising they are unlikely to return.

Here’s the range of plans you may come across:

  • Dual fuel plans: Gas and electricity provided by one supplier and paid for with a single bill. Combining both may work out cheaper if you get a discount.
  • Smart meter tariffs: Gain control over energy costs and plan your energy usage. You’ll need to sign up for a ‘smart meter plan’ and have a smart meter.
  • NightSaver tariffs: Good for homes which use more electricity at night, such as storage heaters. You’ll need a NightSaver meter.
  • Time of Use (ToU) tariffs: You’ll pay various electricity rates at different times of the day or week instead of a ‘flat’ same rate tariff. You’ll need a smart meter.
  • Pay As You Go plans: Also known as Prepay energy, you’ll need to pay for the energy upfront by topping up a prepayment meter online with a key, card or tokens.
  • Green plans: These mean your home gets supplied with 100% renewable energy or a fuel mix. These tariffs may also contribute to environmental projects.
  • Variable rate tariffs: All energy plans are currently variable, meaning when prices rise, your bill will too, but it will drop when rates fall.
  • Fixed-rate tariffs: Guarantees your energy price for a set period - up to 12 months. You’ll likely get charged an exit fee if you leave early.

smart meter electricity

Are smart meters worth it?

A smart meter won’t automatically cut your bills, but they provide many benefits for homeowners and the environment. Here’s some of the advantages:

  • Gives you insight and control over your energy use
  • Helps you manage your household bills and budget
  • Enables Smart Plans and Time of Use tariffs for better prices
  • Supports a sustainable future by reducing your carbon footprint
  • Helps ESB Networks run more efficiently and fix faults faster
  • Switching energy suppliers is easier and faster

What is Pay As You Go electricity?

It’s electricity paid for in advance. You’ll only pay for the energy you need, so there are no bills.

Unlike the standard payment method of bi-monthly or monthly bills to cover usage, a prepayment meter requires topping up before you can use energy.

Pay As you Go (PAYG) is also known as prepaid or prepay electricity.

Pros and cons of prepay energy

Prepay energy is not necessarily cheaper, but it’s an option worth considering if you struggle to keep up with bills or want to take control of your spending.

There are several advantages and disadvantages of prepaid gas and electricity. Here are the main ones:

Pros

  • Track and reduce energy usage
  • Plan your household budget
  • No energy bills or estimated bills
  • Easy, hassle-free top-up service

Cons

  • Can be more expensive
  • Chance of power disruption
  • Advanced planning is needed
  • Fluctuating seasonal costs

electricity night saver

Is a NightSaver plan for you?

A NightSaver plan allows customers to enjoy reduced price electricity at night.

A specialist meter records your usage during the day and night separately, so you pay cheaper rates for electricity during NightSaver hours, which are 11pm till 8am in Winter and 12am till 9am during Summer.

You’ll save money with a NightSaver meter if you use more than 25% of your household electricity overnight; about four units if you use an average of 12 units per day. Households with night storage heaters, an electric car or a heat pump will likely benefit from a NightSaver plan.

Compare gas and electricity plans for better prices

Pay less for your energy

Part 3

Choosing an energy supplier in Ireland

Why compare energy suppliers?

You’ll likely save money by switching if you haven’t changed your energy provider in the last 12 months.

This is because many suppliers offer discounts to new customers, but when the introductory period ends, you’ll pay the standard rate, which is often higher.

When your contract ends, it makes sense to shop around, compare plans and switch to a better deal.

piggy bank energy

How much could you save?

The average electricity customer could save up to €181 a year by switching from a standard tariff to the cheapest deal on the market, and the average gas could save up to €201 by switching to the cheapest deal.

On average, you could save €383 by switching if you have a dual fuel tariff for your gas and electricity.

How Switcher.ie can help you

Switcher.ie is a free, impartial and independent price comparison and energy switching service in Ireland. We compare gas and electricity suppliers to help you:

  • find the cheapest energy prices
  • switch to a better deal
  • save money on your bills

We’re accredited by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), which means the CRU endorses Switcher.ie as an independent, impartial and accurate source of information.

Comparing gas and electricity suppliers

You can find a better deal by comparing energy suppliers and tariffs using our gas and electricity comparison tool. It takes less than 10 minutes to find a cheaper plan and Switcher.ie will manage the whole switching process for you.

Enter your details into our gas and electricity comparison tool and we’ll show you all available gas, electricity and dual fuel plans to you. You’ll be able to compare:

  • The estimated annual bill (EAB)
  • Annual savings
  • Contract length
  • Additional plan information

Which energy suppliers do Switcher.ie compare?

We compare gas and electricity plans and prices of all the active energy suppliers in Ireland. Visit our suppliers page for more information about each energy provider.

Discover the cheapest suppliers in Ireland

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Part 4

Switching your energy supplier

1

Search

Simply tell us about your gas & electricity usage so we can search the market.

2

Compare

Choose the best deal for your needs from Ireland’s top energy suppliers.

3

Switch

Apply to switch and sit back while your new supplier takes care of everything.

For a quick and easy switch, use Switcher.ie’s free, gas and electricity comparison tool.

Simply tell us about your current energy plan and the tariff type you want, and we’ll show you the cheapest deals and best suppliers. You can then choose your new plan and check the relevant information.

Once you are happy with your choice, just provide your details and confirm your switch and your new supplier will contact you and do the rest.

Switch and save up to €383 on your energy bills

It only takes a few minutes to find a cheaper deal and start saving

When is the best time to switch?

You’re free to switch energy providers without penalty when your contract term ends, usually after 12 months. However, you’ll get charged an early exit fee if you leave your contract before the term finishes.

Most energy suppliers charge an early exit fee of €50 per fuel, so if you’re a dual fuel customer, it could cost up to €100.

What you need to know

How long will the switch take?

It usually takes around 14 days for your switch to be carried out. The completion time depends on your old and new supplier, but you’ll be updated with progress and informed once the switch is complete.

What happens after you’ve switched?

You should receive a welcome pack and plan information from your new supplier. They will also be in touch by email to update you on progress.

Do you need to contact your supplier?

No, once your new supplier receives and confirms your application, they’ll handle the switch with your old supplier, so you don’t need to contact them.

Will there be an interruption to supply?

No, all energy suppliers use the same network and pipes to provide energy to your home, so you won’t have any interruption in supply. Apart from receiving your bills from another supplier and a smaller bill, nothing else will change.

Learn more about switching your supplier

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Part 5

How to save energy and cut bills

Quick tips to save home energy

If you’re not ready to switch, you’ll save money on your gas and electricity bills by reducing your energy usage at home. Making your home more energy efficient can also have environmental benefits.

Here are five tips to reduce your use and improve your home’s energy efficiency.

  1. Pull the plug and don’t leave your appliances on standby
  2. Turn your heating down, just one degree can make a difference
  3. Get smart and use timers and smart meters to monitor and control your use
  4. Use your kettle, fridge and oven efficiently; use minimal water and heat to cook
  5. Reduce your use of energy-sapping things like tumble dryers and power showers

To discover what appliances use the most energy, as well as how to increase your home’s energy efficiency and cut your energy bills, visit our guide Top energy saving tips to save money.

What is Beat the Peak?

The Electric Supply Board (ESB) has launched a new initiative to reduce the demand on Ireland’s energy grid during peak hours of use. It’s currently being piloted on up to 30,000 households with a view to rolling out the scheme to all households by 2024.

How will it work?

The Beat the Peak (BTP) campaign will encourage people to shift their energy use away from evening peak hours of 5 to 7pm when household electricity needs are at their highest.

Participating households will receive text messages, emails and ongoing reminders about how to switch energy use to other times of the day, especially when there is a risk of shortages or power outages.

An example of shifting your use could be setting your washing machine or dishwasher to run overnight.

What’s the cheapest way to pay?

Some suppliers offer discounts of up to 3% if you register for online billing and up to 5% if you pay by Direct Debit. If you have an internet connection and can set up a Direct Debit with your bank, it makes sense to take advantage of these incentives.

Even greater discounts are offered if you sign up for a Dual Fuel plan; so if you use gas and electricity, it’s cheaper to get both from the same energy provider.

How to spread the cost of your energy bill

Talk to your supplier about a payment plan if you struggle with higher energy costs during winter or just want to budget more effectively.

These payment plans allow you to spread the cost of your electricity or gas bill into twelve fixed, monthly direct debit payment amounts. Your supplier may also include a 10% contingency to allow for any electricity or gas price changes, plus any other factors.

old man laptop

Can you get support to pay energy bills?

If you’re on social welfare, Fuel Allowance helps cover the cost of heating your home. It’s paid weekly, but if you are on certain benefits, you can claim it in two lump sums. Learn more about what you can get and who can apply in our guide How to claim the Fuel Allowance.

Our guide What help can you get paying your energy bills? summarises other support available in Ireland.

Managing your energy payments

Whether you get a paper bill in the post or an online statement, your energy bills contain the same information. Most suppliers give you the option of paperless billing and online account management.

Several energy providers also offer a mobile app to manage your bills and monitor usage.

How your energy bill is calculated

You may have seen the Estimated Annual Bill (EAB) rate when comparing suppliers; however, the amount you pay is calculated on ‘actual’ gas and electricity use. It’s based on the previous month’s usage or two months if you get billed bi-monthly.

Energy usage is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWhs), and each kWh is called a unit. The unit rate is the cost you pay per kWh, so the amount you’re charged is calculated by multiplying your usage by the unit rate.

You can track how much power you’re using and calculate your energy spend by checking your gas, electricity or smart meter. Learn more about meter readings in our guide How to read your electricity and gas meters.

On top of consumption charges, other factors like the standing charge, levies and VAT are added to your bill to make up the total amount payable. Read our guide What is the average energy bills in Ireland? to learn more about your gas and electricity costs.

What to do if you're struggling to pay

If you’re struggling to afford your gas and electricity bills, contact your supplier to discuss ways to cope with the payments. Your supplier is obliged to help and negotiate a plan that works for both of you

Before a supplier can disconnect you, they must agree on a payment arrangement that suits your circumstances while avoiding a situation where your debt worsens. This could involve moving you to a payment scheme like Level Pay or installing a Pay-As-You-Go meter.

Learn more about how you are protected by the Energy Engage Code and the CRU.

Discover how to save energy to cut electricity and gas costs

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Energy in Ireland FAQs

Why are energy prices so high at the moment?

Wholesale energy prices reached an all-time high during the summer and energy providers are passing on these costs to customers.

Several factors have affected supply and demand, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and last year’s cold winter in Europe, which put pressure on supplies and stored gas levels. This has consequently pushed up the price suppliers pay for gas and electricity.

When will the Government Electricity Credit be paid?

Electricity customers got a one-off, exceptional payment of €200 paid between April and June 2022.

In Budget 2023, the Government announced that residential electricity customers would get a further €600 credit to help with electricity bills.

It will be paid in three instalments of €200; the first payment will be made in November 2022, the second will be made in January 2023, and the third will be made in March 2023.

How do I make a complaint to my supplier?

If you have a complaint about your energy supplier or the service you’re receiving, in the first instance you should raise your complaint directly with them and follow their complaints process.

Details of how to complain can usually be found on the supplier’s website, within their Terms & Conditions or Code of Conduct.

If you can’t resolve your complaint with the supplier, you can approach Citizens Information for advice or escalate the complaint to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).

How do I find out who my energy supplier is?

You can find out who your electricity supplier is by looking at the details on your recent energy bill. If you don’t have a bill available, or if you’ve just moved home and aren’t sure which utility company supplies your new property, contact:

  • ESB Networks on 1850 372 757 or
  • email ESB on esbnetworks@esb.ie

For gas, contact:

  • Gas Networks Ireland on 1800 464 464 or
  • Use the Gas Networks Contact Us form

What does EAB mean?

When comparing energy plans, you’ll come across the term Estimated Annual Bill (EAB). The EAB is an estimate of the average household energy cost for a year and includes VAT and other charges such as the Standing Charge and PSO Levy.

It’s based on whether a customer is urban or rural, their meter type and any discounts. It’s calculated using average electricity consumption of 4,200kWh and average gas consumption of 11,000kWh.

Do comparison websites earn commission from suppliers?

Switcher.ie has commercial arrangements in place with some suppliers, which means we receive a small commission payment every time you switch gas or electricity suppliers through Switcher.ie.

This helps to make the switching process as convenient as possible. In some cases, we can offer exclusive deals that are not available directly from the supplier.

You can learn more about Switcher.ie on our About Us page.

Can I switch if I'm on the Special or Priority Services register?

Yes, you can still switch if you have a specific need like visual impairment or a medical condition where continuity of energy supply is critically important. Indicate your specific needs on the switching form and your new supplier will ensure you’re registered.

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