The ESB (Electricity Supply Board) was set up in 1927 as an entirely state owned utility provider, to control and develop the national electricity grid in Ireland. Over the years the company has pioneered electricity production, transmission and distribution, and today is a semi-state owned body composed of several legally-partitioned companies dealing with electricity. They’re also dipping their toes into the telecoms market with dark fibre network construction and maintenance.
What is dark fibre?Dark fibre is optic fibre that is not in use, as opposed to “lit” fibre which is being used. It came about as extra fibre was laid down while installing optic fibre networks in order to cater for increased demand in the future. Companies can rent this dark fibre to create their own independent networks, rather than depend on the supplied bandwidth.
Among their companies are ESB Networks Limited (responsible for operating and maintaining the electricity distribution system, as well as installing, maintaining, and reading meters) and Electric Ireland, which is the retail arm supplying electricity directly to customers.
Following the call for deregulation of the Irish electricity market, ESB were required to reduce their market share to 60% before rebranding and being allowed to reenter the market as a competitor under the Electric Ireland branch. At Selectra we focus on residential consumers, but Electric Ireland also provide services to meet business electricity needs.
Their current mission is to transition to low carbon energy and increase the focus on renewables, but will it be enough to satisfy Ireland’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint as part of the Paris Agreement? Only time will tell.
As part of their strategy, they have analysed the sources of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions. For example, fossil fuels produce around 15% of our greenhouse gas emissions, and when it comes to cars, surprisingly petroleum also emits a similar amount of carbon dioxide as petrol. However yearly emissions from petrol are less than diesel on average, as overall mileage is reduced with petrol. ESB are focusing on not only reducing emissions, but also increasing Ireland’s green energy capacity by investing in renewable and sustainable energy sources.
As such they are investigating converting energy sources dependent on fossil fuels, such as the largest power plant in Ireland, Moneypoint - which runs on coal - to more environmentally friendly options. The ESB had previously broached converting Moneypoint to a nuclear station but strong opposition to nuclear stations, stemming from the long shadow cast by Chernobyl and the ongoing calls to close down the UK Sellafield nuclear power station, make this unlikely.
Current renewable energy sources being invested in by ESB to integrate into Ireland’s electricity infrastructure include wind energy projects such as Coillte(whose wind farms are now owned by Greencoat Renewables) and Oweninny Wind Farm in addition to four other UK wind farms. Solar energy for household “self” consumption is also being encouraged, with ESB supplying solar panels and the SEAI providing grants of up to €3800 for home installation.
As the branch of ESB tasked with running and maintaining electric utilities, ESB Networks also perform all meter readings. If you are out and miss a meter reading, or have received an estimated bill, here at Selectra we always recommend you submit your own meter readings. Underestimated bills can lead to nasty shocks later, and overestimated bills should mean the additional cost you have been charged will be used against the next bill, or refunded.
If you’re not sure how to read your meter, check out our handy meter reading guide(coming soon!) and you can then submit a reading directly to ESB online. If you have one of the more modern smart meters, your bills should always be accurate and there is no need to submit additional readings - one more thing ticked off your to do list.
ESB Power Check & Faults
ESB Power Check is a handy website tool where you can see any network interruptions, the exact location, how many customers have been affected, and whether the interruptions were scheduled or unplanned. You can report a fault online, or ESB also provide a number to call, but advise that before calling you check out whether your neighbours have power or if the streetlights are on.
If the streetlights are not on and/or your neighbours are without power, you should call to report the interruption. If this is not the case then check your fuse box to see whether a switch has tripped or a fuse has blown.
If you can’t see anything amiss with your fuse box, then call the service interruption number above anyway as it’s possible that the ESB Network’s main fuse for your home may be the culprit. Quote your MPRN when you call as this will help ESB determine your exact location.
Be aware that you may be liable for a callout fee of up to €136 if the issue ends up being your appliances or your fuse box, and not an ESB related issue.
ESB Login & Online
As mentioned before, Electric Ireland is now the new name of the ESB branch that manages the retail side of their energy supplying business, and as such the ESB login for customers’ online accounts is now managed through the Electric Ireland login page. It is worth checking out, if only for Electric Ireland’s impressive smart meter, aimed at improving energy efficiency and enabling consumers to save energy in their household.
ESB Power Outages
Although ESB makes every effort to keep the electricity distribution system up and running, storms and other natural disasters can, and will occasionally bring down some lines or cause other damage, disrupting your electricity supply.
There are also planned outages in order to carry out routine maintenance and system updates. When an outage is scheduled, you will be notified by post at least two working day in advance.
Whether an outage is planned or not, it’s always best to be prepared for one, rather than stumbling around in the dark barking your shins on your furniture. We’d advise having a stash of batteries and a torch in an easily accessible place so you can light your way, and also check out your fusebox in order to see whether it’s a supply issue or a fuse issue.
If you should see any downed or damaged lines please call ESB immediately on:
1850 372 999. Under no circumstances should you approach, touch, or attempt to move the line.
We also recommend writing down your MPRN, which you can find on your electricity bill, and keeping it either with your torch and batteries, sticking it onto your fuse box, or saving it to your phone. Knowing your MPRN will help ESB operators identify and locate the issue faster.
Try and keep your phone charged as you should be able to find out information about how long the outage will last on ESB’s Twitter page, the Power Check page, or the Power Check app (Android & iOS). In a pinch, you can use your car to charge your phone, or alternatively invest a few quid in a power bank (a portable external battery for charging).
ESB advise that you keep your fridge and freezer closed up tight as the food inside can stay cool for up to 24 hours and most outages will only last 8 hours maximum.
Vulnerable Customers & Customers dependent on electricity for medical reasons:Please ensure you have registered with ESB, so that you can receive priority assistance in the event of an outage. For more information on registering and services, please check out our special services page(coming soon!).
The majority of ESB’s employees report being satisfied with their job and ESB currently boasts a 3.8/5 star rating on the well-known website Glassdoor. Cons associated with working with ESB were that flexibility and career progression were dependent on which manager you got, and job promotion was difficult.
Positive comments that workers made about being employed by ESB mentioned the emphasis on and commitment to ensuring a good work-life balance, the employee benefits (such as continuing education), great on-the-job training and a nice work atmosphere. If you’d like to join ESB, take a look at their current vacancies
ESB also run a graduate development programme, provide undergraduate placements, and have a popular apprenticeship program. Notably ESB have also run several workshops and initiatives to attract women to apply for placements and apprenticeships with them, and encourage women to study and apply for STEM positions which have traditionally been viewed as male-dominated work areas, seeking to close the current gender gap.
The popular ESB apprenticeship is for electrical apprentices and begins in September each year for candidates aged over 16. It is four years long and includes training modules and work experience. In order to apply you must also have either:
- Junior Cert grade C or above in Irish or English, Maths, Science, and two more subjects
- Or Leaving Cert grade D or higher in Irish or English, Maths, a Science subject, and two other subjects
Application periods and instructions are announced early on each year, so if you’re interested in applying keep an eye on the ESB Apprenticeship page.
ESB Top Up
ESB top ups are now managed through Electric Ireland’s top up system, where depending on whether you have a smart pay as you go (SPAYG) meter or a traditional electricity PAYG meter, Electric Ireland provides a wealth of options such as at Payzones, via SMS, online and via their app.
Electric Ireland provide traditionally billed options, PAYG options, and smart pay as you go options using their cutting-edge in home monitor and smart meter. For more information on topping up with Electric Ireland, view the top up section on our page about them.
Much like Gas Networks Ireland Dial Before You Dig Service, ESB Networks provide a service to ensure you don’t accidentally hit any electrical cables which may be buried on your property while digging or carrying out renovations, to avoid receiving a greater shock than your final builder’s bill.
Before carrying out any excavation work, you or your contractor must contact the Central Site office who will provide you with a map of any electricity cables in the vicinity of your excavation site. You can contact the Central Site office by:
And if you’re really in a rush and need the map ASAP, you can call the Central Site office telephone number, request a map for collection, and swing by and pick it up yourself.
As a large company, with many irons in the fire, chances are you may need to make a complaint to ESB. In order to register a complaint with ESB you can either:
- Phone their National Customer Care Centre: 1850 372 757 or 021 238 6555
- Send them a fax: 021 484 4261
- Send them an email at email@example.com
- Write to them: Customer Relations, ESB Networks, Sarsfield Road, Wilton, Co. Cork
If you’ve tried one of the above channels and are dissatisfied with the way your complaint has been handled, make a note of the complaints reference number that ESB should have provided you with, and contact the Commission for Regulation of Utilities.