CRU: What it is, Customer Care, Complaints & Contact
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) is Ireland's independent energy and water regulator. Read on to learn more about what the CRU does, as well as find out what it can do to help you as a consumer.
What does the CRU do?
When it comes to energy, customers can count on the CRU to:
- Safeguard their interests
- Regulate energy safety
- Contribute to the European-led call to action to reduce carbon emissions and promote renewables
- Ensure supplier compliance
- Register and resolve supplier complaints
The CRU also regulates the costs of energy transmission and distribution, which normally form part of your standing charge.
The CRU regularly carries out surveys on the energy market, as well as on customer habits and preferences. In recent years, the energy regulator has also undertaken educating the public on the benefits of switching energy supplier. It now regularly runs campaigns advising customers to switch every 12 months to save money. By doing so, customers can potentially save hundreds of euros on their energy bills annually.
So who regulates the regulators? The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD) does. Its latest report reflects favourably on the CRU’s development and implementation of policy reforms, as well as its recommended strategies for the future.
ISEMIn October 2018, the Integrated Single Electricity Market (ISEM),a new version of the Single Electricity Market (SEM), went live. The ISEM is a new electricity market arrangement for the entire island of Ireland. It is overseen by a committee composed of CRU representatives (representing the Irish electricity market), Northern Ireland Utility Regulator representatives, and two independent members.
CRU Supplier Regulation
The CRU produces several guides on how energy suppliers should interact with the general public. As all regulation of energy and water suppliers across the Republic of Ireland falls under its remit, the CRU ensures the following:
- Rate compliance
- A fair cost for energy supply
- Preferential treatment for disadvantaged groups, such as vulnerable consumers
If you're looking for the supplier with the best price, the table below shows the cheapest dual fuel (gas and electricity) offers per supplier.
|Supplier||Best offer||Price per year|
|Bord Gáis Energy||29% Electricity discount
38% Gas discount
|Electric Ireland||8.5% Dual fuel discount
|Energia||40% Electricity discount
39% Gas discount
|Flogas||31% Dual fuel discount||€1,453.58|
|Iberdrola||32.5% Duel fuel discount||€1,442.95|
|Panda Power||28% dual fuel discount
|SSE Airtricity||10% Dual fuel discount
All discounts and cashback have been applied to price. Calculations based on average consumption figures for an urban home with a 24-hour meter. Last updated: November 2020
The CRU seeks to protect not only the general public from energy or water dangers, but also workers in the energy industry. As part of its commitment to customers, the energy regulator not only supervises the safe transportation and supply of energy, but it also regulates and certifies electrical and gas installers. You should always check if your energy equipment or revision “expert” is certified in order to minimise and avoid any possible future dangers to your household.
As we all know, electricity and gas must be handled and installed correctly in order to avoid a loss of life or injury. In fact, the CRU has brought several cases against non-registered and/or non-certified installers, seeking damages of up to €15,000, in order to drive home the message that making money from undercutting registered workers and putting people’s lives at risks is absolutely unacceptable.
For customers seeking grants or looking to update their household's Better Energy Rating (BER), there are also potential remifications if it turns out the work was carried out by an unregistered installer. These cases have also highlighted that customers cannot assume that anyone who advertises as certified actually is, and they must ask to see proof.
How can I check if my installer is registered?All registered gas and electricity installers should carry a photo ID card with their registration number on it. Ask to see this and check that it hasn’t expired. If you’re still in any doubt, make a note of their registration number and call or email to check.
To verify electricity installers' registration numbers...Safe Electric Ireland
Telephone: ☎ 01 4929966
To verify gas installers' registration numbers...Registered Gas Installers Ireland
Telephone: ☎ 01 01 4997998
How do I make a complaint to the CRU?
One of the most common reasons the general public interacts with the CRU is regarding complaints. If you’re experiencing any issue with your energy supplier, network operator or Irish Water, the first step is to contact the company and see if they can resolve your issue.
If you’re not happy with the proposed resolution, the next step is to lodge a formal complaint with them. Suppliers have two months to resolve complaints, barring technical mishaps, after which you can escalate the issue to the CRU if you're still not satisfied. Most complaints the CRU handles are resolved within three months.
Below, we break down the complaints handling proccess for energy and water.
CRU Energy Complaints
Energy complaints can either be made about your energy supplier (the company you pay your bills too) or your distribution network operator (DNO). DNOs operate the distribution networks that deliver energy to our homes. Depending on your issue, you'll need to first contact one of these service before you log a complaint with the CRU. Let's have a look at which types of issues pertain to either your supplier or your network operator.
Suppliers handle issues related to the following:
- Billing and account issues.
- Changing supplier and moving home.
- Closing your energy account.
- Marketing and advertising issues, including door-to-door salespeople.
Note that you do not need to be a current customer of an energy provider to log a complaint with them. You could, for example, be displeased with the behaviour of a sales representative of that company who had visited your house. When lodging a formal complaint, always ask for a complaint reference number, as you will need one for any future escalation of the complaint.
While most issues are typically related to your energy supplier, there are some areas in which you would actually need to contact your network operator. These include the following:
- Power cuts
- Connection delays
- Connection costs
- Faulty meters
Once you've completed the complaints handling process with either your supplier or your network operator, you can then log the complaint with the CRU. To do so, there is a six step process that you must follow :
- Submit your complaint to the CRU in writing. This can be done by completing the online complaint form in pdf or word format, and then either emailing it to customer careor submitting it to the customer care department by post.
- After submitting your complaint, the CRU will check that you engaged in the complaints process with either your supplier or your network operator. It will ask for the relevant records from the energy company to ensure this was done.
- The CRU will then provide you with a copy of the energy company's report and ask you if you wish to comment on it.
- Following this, the CRU will investigate the issue. It may also need to follow up with you or the energy company.
- The CRU then proposes a decision. You and the supplier/network operator then have the opportunity to comment on the decision.
- After taking all comments into account, the CRU’s final decision will be made known.
CRU Water Complaints
In addition to providing a complaint resolution service for energy customers, the CRU also provides this service for Irish Water customers. The CRU complaints process for Irish Water is the same as it is with your energy company (as explained in the above section).
You must first make the complaint with Irish Water, and the process with the CRU will consist of the same six steps. The documents to submit to the CRU can be found below:
It's important to note that the CRU does not deal with complaints related to water quality or pollution. If you have a problem with your drinking water, you should contact Irish Water directly. If the problem persists, you should then contact the Environmental Protection Agency.
All energy suppliers in Ireland are required to produce a customer charter adhering to the CRU’s guidelines. As part of these charters, suppliers must also set out how to compensate and/or refund customers when they have failed to meet the standards set out in the charter.
In these charters, suppliers must set out a minimum of seven codes of practice. These should at least cover signing up, billing, disconnection, and complaint handling, for example. The minimum penalty for failing to meet their codes of practise is €30, and customers may still be entitled to further redress or compensation.
When comparing savings and tariffs for the purpose of switching, the CRU also maintains that suppliers must base annual estimates on either the customers actual consumption, or the official annual estimated averages for Ireland.
The estimates must also include all other charges such as standing charges, levies and taxes, and take into account any supplier discounts available. The CRU brought in the EAB to make sure suppliers were transparent in their dealings with the public, and to help consumers better understand, and be better able to compare offers.
What is the EAB?EAB stands for Estimated Annual Bill. The CRU advises that the estimated annual bill in Ireland for electricity consumption is 4200 kWh, and for gas 11000 kWh. Of course depending on your household size and consumption, this can vary.
If you’re not sure about your consumption and which deal would be best for you, here at Selectra we’re happy to help you decide.
Licensed CRU Suppliers
In the table below, you'll find a list of the suppliers in Ireland with a CRU license. You can also see the markets in which each suppliers operates (electricity and/or gas), as well as if they supply business or domestic customers.
|Supplier||Domestic electricity||Domestic gas||Business electricity||Business gas|
|Bord Gáis Energy|
To contact the CRU regarding complaints, or any other issues you may be having, there are several options detailed below.
General Contact DetailsCommission for Regulation of Utilities, The Grain House, The Exchange, Belgard Square North, Tallaght, Dublin 24, PXW0.
Telephone ☎ 01 4000 800
Fax ☎ 01 4000 850
Customer Care Contact DetailsThe Customer Care Team, Commission for Regulation of Utilities, P.O. Box 11934, Dublin 24.
Telephone ☎ 1890 404 404
Fax ☎ 01 4000 850