Your guide to prepay gas
Thinking about switching to a prepay gas deal? If so, we've got all of the information you'll need.
Is there a prepay gas supplier in Ireland?
Prepay gas is not as common as prepay electricity, but it is still available in Ireland. PrePayPower added prepay gas to its services for new customers recently, and it has proven popular - the CRU has said that a recent spike in gas switching could be attributed to this.
Aside from PrePayPower, prepay gas meters are not advertised by other suppliers, and are generally only installed when they are requested by customers. This usually happens in cases where customers are having trouble paying their gas bills, and/or are in arrears, but not necessarily. If requested by the customer, gas suppliers will arrange for Gas Networks Ireland to install a prepay meter for them.
What is prepay gas?
Prepay gas is an alternative option that can meet your energy needs. Essentially, the concept involves pay-as-you-go (PAYG) gas that is used and paid for at the same time.
Are prepaid gas meters more expensive?
In general, prepaid tariffs are more expensive than standard gas tariffs. However, many people feel the benefits of PAYG tariffs - i.e. only using the energy you can afford and no more estimated bills - make switching worthwhile, despite the higher unit rates.
How does prepay gas work?
Unlike other methods of paying for gas where payment is usually done bi-monthly or monthly, a PAYG meter requires topping up before energy is used. This means that you cannot use more energy than you can afford.
Essentially, this could be helpful for customers who might find it difficult to monitor and stay in control of their gas usage.
Generally, if you request a prepay gas meter, your supplier will arrange for Gas Networks Ireland to install your meter, and will provide you with some initial credit.
You’ll also get a Gas Card which you can top-up with your chosen amount, much like topping up a mobile phone. You can then slot the card into the meter and transfer your credit across.
In cases where you run low on credit and can’t top up, you also have the option to use ‘emergency credit’, which you can pay back at a later date.
Standing charges with prepay gas
As well as the gas unit rate, you will also need to pay a service charge, which is a fixed cost in addition to top-up payments.
Some suppliers charge this daily on your prepay meter, so you can clearly see what you’re being charged and monitor your usage on a daily basis.
What is the cheapest prepay gas plan?
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There is only one prepay gas supplier operating in Ireland at the moment - PrePayPower - and the above table shows the average cost of its prepay gas plan for 1 year. According to the CRU, the average gas customer uses 11,000 kW/h of gas per year.
Which gas supplier is cheapest overall in Ireland?
If you’re not convinced about prepay gas and just want to go with the cheapest plan out there, the chances are you will make much bigger savings. At the moment, the average gas customer can save up to €118 by switching from a typical standard plan to the cheapest deal on the market.
You can find out all about comparing gas prices and the various plans available in our dedicated guide.