How Do You Compare Electricity Prices in Ireland?

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In these tough inflationary times, saving on record-high energy bills is now more important than ever. Knowing how to compare electricity prices can help you choose the best option between different providers. In our compare electricity prices guide, we’ll walk you through how electricity prices in Ireland work and how to compare them effectively.

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How Can I Compare Electricity Prices?

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With so many different energy providers offering different deals and prices, it can be difficult to compare electricity prices effectively without getting in a muddle. However, there are ways in which you can make it a lot easier to compare electricity prices and work out what is best for you and the cheapest providers!

What Do I Need To Compare Electricity Prices?

In order to compare electricity prices in way that gives you the best idea of what’s best for your home

  1. Your Yearly Electricity Usage
    Everyone uses a different amount of electricity in their regular consumption so you should know yours to get the most accurate quote possible. You’ll usually find your electricity usage on your bill where it will state how many kilowatt hours (kWh) you’ve used in a given period. If it’s monthly, simply multiply it by twelve to get the yearly figure.
  2. Electricity Unit Rate
    Your electricity rate is how much you pay per kWh and is usually given in cents. This will be multiplied by the number of kWh you’ve used in your consumption to give how much you need to pay for your usage part of the bill.
  3. Standing Charge
    The standing charge is one of your fixed charges that doesn’t change with how much or little you use. It’s usually for paying for having your electricity connected to your home and is given as a yearly figure.
  4. PSO Levy
    The PSO levy is the Public Service Obligation levy. It is used to subsidise renewable and indigenous energy development in Ireland. Once a year, the government determines the PSO amount. It was €58.57 including VAT but since October 2022 it has been reduced to €0. This amount is the same for all suppliers in Ireland.
  5. Valued-Added Tax (VAT)
    Energy customers also have to pay VAT on their electricity usage. This is currently set at 9% (although business customers will see a 13.5% tax). You will see electricity providers showing both prices with VAT and without.

You can then use your current electricity prices as a guide to compare electricity prices against the various providers’ offers. This also applies to Pay As You Go (PAYG) customers. Anyone with discounted hour rates should tally the day, night, and peak hour usage for the year to get an accurate price.

How Do I Calculate My Electricity Usage To Compare Electricity Prices?

The first step you need to compare electricity prices is to calculate your electricity usage. This is really important since it’ll help you get a good idea of how much your bills will be with another provider.

Fortunately, it’s really easy to calculate your average usage since all you need to do is look at a bill! Make sure to add up your electricity usage in kWh by looking at your bills over a yearly period (regardless if you switch electricity provider in the same period).

If you are on any discounted rate according to time of day, your bills will show you the usage during the various time frames. Use these figures to calculate your electricity consumption and therefore get an accurate price comparison.

What If I Don’t Know My Electricity Usage?

If you’ve just moved into a new property, the chances are you won’t know what your electricity usage is. It’s also advisable if you have just moved in to assume you don’t know because different properties can have different consumption needs.

If you do not have your electricity usage, you will need to use the national average consumption figures to compare. The current average consumption in Ireland is 4200 kWh.

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How Do I Find My Electricity Tariff To Compare Electricity Prices?

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To make things complicated when you compare electricity prices, you need to then determine the type of tariff you have for your home. These can vary a lot since often customers living in rural and urban areas will be given a different standing charge, and also different meters will :

  1. Urban 24 hour
  2. Rural 24 hour
  3. Urban Nightsaver
  4. Rural Nightsaver
  5. Smart Meter Tariff

How Do I Know Which Meter I Have?

If you are on a standard 24-hour tariff you will have just one unit rate on your bill.

You can determine if your home is considered urban or rural by looking at your electricity MPRN number on your bill. The letters ‘DG1’ indicate an urban rate designation whereas ‘DG2’ are rural rates. If you live on a farm, check out our Farm Energy Guide!

If you are on a Nightsaver tariff, you will need to divide between the day and the night unit rates.

Smart meter tariffs have three rates (T1, T2, and T3) usually with the following time frames:

  • Day rate (8 am to 5 pm & 7 pm to 11 pm)
  • Night rate (11 pm to 8 am)
  • Peak rate (5 pm to 7 pm)

Can Nightsaver Help Me Save?

The more electricity usage you move to Nightsaver hours, the more you could save. This is why it is important to know your household energy usage when you compare electricity prices.

As an example, someone working night shifts will have a much higher daytime electricity usage over night time when they are away from home. Such a Nightsaver rate may not be in their best interest.

On average, nightsaver or smart meter rates will start to be beneficial over 24 hour urban rates if you use at least 25% of your electricity at night time.

How Do I Find My Standing Charges To Compare Electricity Prices?

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Along with charging for the electricity usage, energy companies also charge having the electricity connected to the grid which is called the standing charge. In Ireland, this is usually set as a yearly lump sum that can range from €200 to €300. The standing charge is also part of the fixed costs, along with the PSO levy. The standing charge is added after you’ve worked out your electricity consumption cost.

How Much Is the Standing Charge?

The standing charge can vary from company to company and it normally depends on what an energy provider offers. Often, if you have a higher standing charge, this might be balanced out by lower unit rates or vice versa. However, my energy providers have more or less the same standing charge between them.

Where there is a major difference is between rural and urban electricity standing charge. Since it’s more costly to supply electricity to rural areas due to infrastructure issues, energy companies will generally charge a higher standing charge for rural electricity than for urban.

Standing Charge Example Say for example, you’re an urban electricity customer and your energy company is offering you a standing charge of €217.08 (not including VAT). To work out how much you’ll pay in fixed costs every month, you’ll need to first at the 9% VAT rate and then divide it by twelve:

Yearly Charge: €217.08 + 9% = €236.62
Monthly Charge: €236.62 ÷ 12 months = €19.72

This means €19.72 is how much you’ll pay each month on top of your consumption.

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How To Add It All Up To Compare Electricity Prices

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After you’ve worked out all of that information about your consumption and your standing charge, you can now put it all together to work out how much your estimated annual bill (EAB) will be.

How Much Will My Estimated Annual Bill Be?

Your estimated annual bill needs to be worked out by combining everything from above so you get an idea of how much your electricity will cost you throughout a year.

Working out your Estimated Annual Bill To work out your estimated annual bill, you’ll need to have your previous annual consumption ready. Say for example you used 3,900 kWh throughout the year and you are using a 24hr urban standard meter, and you are looking to switch electricity providers. You find an electricity provider willing to offer you the following (excluding VAT):

Unit Rates: 45.00c/kWh
Standing Charge: €220 a year

First of all, we need to first add the 9% VAT onto the rates so we can get a more accurate picture:

Unit Rates: 45.00c/kWh + 9% = 49.05c/kWh
Standing Charge: €220 a year + 9% = €236.80

Next, you will need to work out how much you would pay for your electricity with these rates:

Consumption Cost: 49.05c/kWh x 3,900kWh = €1912.95 a year

You’ll then need to add the fixed costs to your consumption costs so as to get your EAB:

EAB: Consumption €1912.95 + Standing Charge €236.80 = €2,149.75

So over the course of a year, you’ll be paying around €2,149.75 for your electricity. This means that you’ll be paying around €179.15 a month!

How Do I Compare Electricity Prices If I Have a Discount?

A key part of an energy company’s offer will be what discount they have to offer on their rates. Essentially an energy company will discount your rates for a fixed period of time (typically 12 months) so you will have cheaper than is on offer. Working out what you’ll get out from a provider’s discount is really important if you want to compare electricity prices.

Applying an energy company’s discount Say for example, an energy company is offering you a 10% for 12 months on your electricity rates. You need to take account of this early on in working out how much your EAB will be. Let’s use the same offer and consumption as the above box but this time with the 10% discount. Here are the rates excluding VAT:

Unit Rates: 45.00c/kWh
Standing Charge: €220 a year

First of all, we need to first add the 9% VAT onto the rates so we can get a more accurate picture:

Unit Rates: 45.00c/kWh + 9% = 49.05c/kWh
Standing Charge: €220 a year + 9% = €236.80

Then, we need to apply the 10% discount only to the unit rates after adding the VAT:

10% Discount: 49.05c/kWh - 10% Discount = 44.15c/kWh

You can then work out the 10% discount consumption costs with these discounted rates:

Consumption Cost: 44.15c/kWh x 3,900kWh = €1721.85 a year

You’ll then need to add the fixed costs to your discounted consumption costs so as to get your EAB:

EAB: Consumption €1721.85 + Standing Charge €236.80 = €1,958,65

So with this company’s 10% offer, you’ll get around €191.10 off your normal annual bill!

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