How Can I Switch Electricity Provider in 2023?
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) officially encourages energy customers to switch electricity and gas providers every year. Read on to discover how to switch electricity providers in Ireland and whether it's worth it or just a lot of extra hassle? You'll find all the answers on how to get the best deals by switching electricity provider.
The vast majority of Irish suppliers all offer the option of switching electricity and gas supplier online, although you can also simply call them and arrange to switch suppliers. Keep in mind, there are often online discounts that are unavailable if you change electricity or gas providers over the phone.
Why Is Switching Electricity Provider a Good Thing?
The majority of customers in Ireland who switch gas and electricity suppliers generally do so for one of two reasons (or both):
- You've just moved homes and need to register.
- Customers wish to pay less for their energy bills.
- Customers are dissatisfied with their current gas and electricity providers.
According to the CRU, customers who change electricity provider every 12 months can save up to €771 a year for a standard dual fuel plan. With the current energy crisis Ireland is facing, more and more people are switching electricity and gas providers.
Does Switching Energy Provider Get You Cheaper Electricity?
Most gas and electricity contracts in Ireland have a 12-month duration. Once this period is over, customers are often placed on the supplier's standard rates. Standard energy tariffs are often the most expensive prices a company will have. Switching energy providers every year allows you to continually benefit from the best prices available on the market.
What Information Do I Need To Switch Electricity Provider?
You will generally need to provide the following information to switch electricity in Ireland:
- Personal details.
- Contact information, like your email address for online plans.
- Banking information for Direct Debit plans.
- Your MPRN and/or GPRN to locate your meters.
- Your Eircode or full address.
We always recommend you sign up for Direct Debit and paperless billing as oftentimes if you opt for other payment and billing methods, you will not be entitled to the full discount advertised on your gas and electricity unit rates. See other billing guides and energy guides for other good tips and advice for getting the best deals on your energy prices.
As mentioned, to switch electricity supplier you will need to provide your MPRN number. To switch gas provider you will have to provide your GPRN number. To contract a dual fuel number you will have to provide both.
What are MPRN and GPRN numbers?MPRN stands for meter point reference number and tells ESB Networks Ireland the exact location of your electricity connection. GPRN stands for 'gas point reference number' and lets Gas Networks identify the point at which you are connected to the gas grid. You can find both numbers on any previous bill for a property, or check out our article on MPRN numbers and GPRN numbers for more options.
How Long Does It Take To Switch Electricity or Gas Providers?
It can take up to 28 days to finalise a change of electricity or gas provider, but keep in mind that your new provider will take care of all the necessary paperwork for you. The only thing you will need to do is make sure to cancel any Direct Debits you have set up with your previous electricity and/or gas supplier after you receive your final bill.
How Will I Know If My Energy Switch Has Been Completed?
Upon completion of your gas or electricity switch, you will receive a welcome pack with information about your new tariff from your new energy supplier. You should also receive a final bill from your previous supplier (make sure to cancel any Direct Debits to your old supplier as soon as you have paid this).
Can My Supplier Stop Me from Switching Electricity Supplier?
No! In short, an energy supplier cannot prevent a switch in Ireland. However, if your contract has not ended yet, they can charge you an exit fee. Most exit fees in Ireland run to the tune of €50, although it can be double that or more for dual fuel contracts and/or contracts with a duration of more than 12 months.
It is important to note that if you are in debt with your current energy provider, you will still need to pay them for any amounts owed after the change of electricity or gas provider.
Furthermore, if the debt is more than €225, a debt flag will be placed on your account. Seeing the debt flag, your new supplier may then decide to refuse the switch. It is easiest to avoid these hassles by settling any debt before changing electricity or gas provider.
You will also want to weigh the pros and cons of switching energy providers, e.g. if you are unhappy with the customer service of your current provider, and subtract exit fees from any potential savings you could make by changing electricity or gas supplier.
How Do You Cancel an Energy Switch in Ireland?
In Ireland, you can cancel a change of electricity or gas provider at any stage within the first fourteen days of requesting the switch. This is known as the “cooling-off period” and comes without paying an exit fee. Simply contact the supplier you were switching to about cancelling the change request.
When Can I Switch Energy Provider?
You can switch energy providers as often as you wish. However, we recommend you change electricity and gas every 12 months. Switching electricity and gas providers every 12 months will ensure you are consistently charged a discounted unit rate for your gas and electricity and not the more expensive standard rate.
If you switch electricity and gas more often than every 12 months, you will end up paying exit fees so we don’t recommend it unless you feel the potential savings you could make are greater than the exit fee you will be liable for.
Who Is the Cheapest Energy Supplier in Ireland?
There is no simple answer to this question as there are various factors that can affect the price of energy for your home. Factors that affect your electricity pricing are:
- Your Meter Type
Electricity prices vary between a standard 24-hour meter, pay-as-you-go, nightsaver, or smart meters.
- Your Geographical Location
On top of the type of meter, electricity prices are further split into two categories, urban and rural. Gas prices are often the same regardless of where you live.
- Your Gas and Electricity Provider
There are over 12 energy suppliers in Ireland you can choose from. Taking the time to compare their prices and customer reviews will save you a lot of headaches in the long term.
- Your Energy Tariff
Most providers will offer a variety of options to suit people's different energy needs. Make sure you are on the right plan for your home energy usage.
To give you an idea of the price differences you can find, we've placed the current best dual fuel offers in Ireland in the table below.
|Supplier||Best offer||Price per year|
|Bord Gáis Energy||10% Electricity discount
10% Gas discount
|Electric Ireland||8.5% Dual fuel discount
|Energia||10% Electricity discount
10% Gas discount
|SSE Airtricity||10% dual fuel discount
|Compare Dual Fuel Offers||Call (01) 913 1771 Ad||Mon - Fri: 9 am - 6 pm|
*Figures are for illustrative purposes only. Calculations based on average consumption figures for an urban home with a 24-hour standard meter. All discounts and cashback have been applied. Last updated: February 2023
As you can see, all energy suppliers in Ireland list their prices under an EAB (Estimated Annual Bill). The EAB is a useful tool to easily compare electricity prices and natural gas tariffs and see at a glance which could be the most economical. The EAB is also inclusive of the PSO Levy, carbon tax and VAT.
Bear in mind that just because a provider is the cheapest, does not necessarily mean that they are the right provider for you. You’ll also want to consider the following points:
- Are there any add-ons to tariffs such as smart thermostats or discounts on other plans?
- Customer service reviews like the ones for Panda Power or Energia customer reviews.
- Citizens who care for the environment may want to know whether the electricity is from a renewable source or not.
- Contract length.
- Whether the tariff is fixed or variable. A variable tariff means that your gas or electricity price can change at any given time whereas a fixed tariff will ensure you pay the same price for the length of the contract.
- Whether you would prefer a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) contract or a regular credit contract.
The above factors are also how these providers try to differentiate themselves from the competition while comparing electricity prices. You can have a look in more detail at some of these below.
Which suppliers include a smart thermostat?
Suppliers currently offering smart thermostat deals when you switch electricity with them include :
Some electricity contracts that come with smart thermostats included may also last up to 24 months, in which case you’ll need to double-check whether any unit rate discounts will be applied for the entire contract length or just the initial 12-month period.
Some other add-ons could be of interest, such as if you switch electricity to Panda Power you can receive a discount on your waste management bill if you are with Panda.
Which suppliers offer renewable electricity?
What is a standard contract length in Ireland?
Regarding contract length, the majority of contracts with discounts for new customers are 12 months in duration. However, there are longer contracts also available.
You can find contracts with a 24-month duration. In this case, you may need to choose between a discount being applied in the first year and paying a higher amount during the second year of the contract or, not receiving a discount but paying a lower tariff for a two-year duration.
In most cases, either option of a 24-month plan often ends up being close to the same at the end of the 2 years.
Should I switch electricity to a fixed or variable tariff?
Fixed tariffs are still somewhat of a rarity in Ireland, despite their popularity in the neighbouring UK. Iberdrola and Flogas are currently the only providers to offer fixed tariffs. So why switch electricity to a fixed tariff?
Fixed tariffs are normally initially more expensive than variable tariffs, but can provide peace of mind and may work out cheaper in the end due to rate increases during the year. In the current energy market, a fixed tariff could be very appealing, as it would allow you to avoid further expected price increases.
Should I switch electricity to Pay As You Go (PAYG)?
If you are already a PAYG user, you may wish to continue paying your energy this way. In this case, your options for switching electricity are limited as there are just four opt-in PAYG providers in Ireland.
- PrePayPower (both electricity and gas)
- Pinergy (electricity only)
- Flogas (gas only)
- Electric Ireland (both electricity and gas)
Keep in mind that Pay As You Go electricity and gas can be a much more expensive option and carefully consider the pros and cons of PAYG before you switch electricity or gas to this payment method.
Why do so many customers stay with their current provider?
There are various possible motives for people to not switch electricity suppliers yearly. Some of these reasons are:
- They are not aware they have the freedom to switch in Ireland.
- They are happy with the service provided.
- They were able to renegotiate a discount with their current provider.
- They are unaware that as soon as their electricity or gas contract expires after 12 months, they will be switched onto the more expensive standard tariff without any discount.
- They fear that a change of electricity provider is a complicated ordeal.
Who is One Big Switch?
One Big Switch is an organisation that encourages customers to sign up, and once membership reaches a certain level, One Big Switch can then negotiate cheaper electricity and gas discounts with energy providers using collective bargaining. It launched in Ireland in February 2014 with its first campaign, the Big Energy Switch, designed to get discounts for customers for their electricity and gas.
64,000 households joined the Big Energy Switch campaign, an unprecedented success and the first of its kind in Ireland. In 2018 One Big Switch spearheaded a new campaign seeking 10,000 new members to increase their buying power to 130,000 customers for their Big Energy Switch campaign.
One Big Switch is now among the world’s largest consumer organisations and still growing. Today it operates in Ireland, the UK, the USA, and Australia.
In a surprising move, One Big Switch also increased pressure on suppliers to make deals for new customers available to existing customers. It has been well known for quite a while now that in order to maintain affordable electricity and gas bills, customers need to switch energy providers every 12 months.
If they fail to do so they will default onto standard tariffs without the benefit of the unit rate discounts they enjoy for the first 12 months of their contracts. What One Big Switch insisted upon was that these “discounts” should always be available for all existing customers, otherwise the difference (up to €400 annually) in what new and existing customers pay amounts to little more than a “loyalty tax”.
Currently, as of June 2019, One Big Switch has 168,622 members and two group discounts available right now for broadband and mortgage protection insurance. Other areas that One Big Switch has expanded into when it comes to seeking discounts for its members include health insurance, mortgages, and home insurance. Joining is free and members are under no obligation to accept discounted offers.
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