Name: Electric Ireland
Slogan: Smarter Living
Electric Ireland is the retail arm of ESB (Electricity Supply Board), the only electricity supplier prior to deregulation of the electricity market. They also began supplying gas to customers after the deregulation of the gas market in 2011.The customer supply arm of ESB was rebranded as Electric Ireland in 2012, following a government mandate forcing it to cede 40% and 50% of its residential and business electricity supply market respectively.
Rebranding was a non-negotiable condition in order to be able to rejoin the market as a competitor against other energy providers. It is to the advantage of the consumers that the market was deregulated, enabling competitive pricing. However it must still have been unpleasant for ESB to have to sit there and watch customers walk away without being able to lift a finger.
ESB Networks currently manages the Irish electricity distribution network. Despite the market shake-up and the ensuing competition, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) end-of-year 2017 electricity and gas retail markets report showed that Electric Ireland held an impressive 49.5% residential electricity market share and had gained a 21.3% residential gas market share, making it one of the dominant energy providers in Ireland again.
Signing up for an online account with Electric Ireland is a relatively simple process, to sign up you will need to have your personal contact information, meter details, and payment details to hand. Although some of this information can be added later on, the meter details necessary are:
- Keypad location - A label you can choose to identify the home associated with the meter, e.g. “Gas Rental House” or “28 Bridget Lane”.
- Keypad number - This is an eight-digit number on the front of your top up card which can also be found on your In Home Monitor under Settings/Info as the Payment Card ID.
Helpful Hint! If in any doubt while filling in the online registration form, hover your mouse over the white space where the information is to be entered and an explanatory sentence will pop up.
The YouTube video published on their page regarding their online account offering highlighted that the main aim of having an online portal was to offer customers a service that they could access on the go.
Once you have registered online, you can login and view the time-saving options Electric Ireland have provided for their customers. For example, you can set up a direct debit or pay your energy bill online. The ability to set up a direct debit quickly, and entirely online, might be a particularly attractive option for time-strapped consumers. It should also be noted that the website is both attractive, and easy to use.
There are currently two apps with similar functions to the online portal available for PAYG customers only. The Electric Ireland marketing push to change to smart meters, and the overall Irish trend towards more ownership and control over energy usage, suggests that Electric Ireland are unlikely to bring out an app for traditional billing customers.
Pay As You Go
For customers who prefer more control over their energy spending habits, Electric Ireland presents a Pay As You Go (PAYG) alternative to traditional billing, available for both Electricity and Gas.
Electric Ireland's electricity PAYG offering is also known as Smarter Pay As You Go (SPAYG), no doubt to distinguish their service from other PAYG electricity services offered by Pinergy and PrePayPower, as well as
differentiating it from their PAYG gas service.
SPAYG’s system consists of a smart meter and an In Home Monitor. Installation is free and there is a sign up bonus of €60 for existing customers, and €150 for new customers. Existing customers with any arrears, who are switching to SPAYG, will have their outstanding bill balance reduced by allocating 25% of their top up amounts to paying it off.
The In Home Monitor helps customers monitor their usage and spending, as well as other interesting features such as being able to:
- Check your carbon emissions.
- Receive upcoming tariff change updates.
- Sound a low credit alarm.
The monitor needs to be within 300m of the smart meter and can be plugged in or used with batteries.
A €5 euro emergency credit option can also be accessed from your meter, should you have any issues with topping up or have arrived home after a late flight to discover your credit is about to run out, all your clothes are dirty, and you urgently need to put on a wash.
This option can be accessed by pressing any button on the keypad when your credit runs low, and the monitor screen shows the emergency credit offer option. This €5 “advance” is then taken from your next top up, e.g. if you have used the emergency credit option and then top up by €10 the next day, your new balance will be €5.
Electric Ireland’s PAYG offering for gas is considerably more low-tech, and consists of a meter and a top up gas card. To be fair, there are currently no smart PAYG gas meters available in Ireland, and no plans to provide smart meter services for gas until at least 2023.
You receive your top up card after installation, and need to manually insert it into the meter in order to top up. As with the SPAYG electricity meter, there is an emergency credit option. Simply insert your card into your meter (make sure the gold chip faces towards the display) when your credit is low, and when the emergency credit option appears on the screen, press the red button.
Paying off your emergency credit on your gas meter is a little more complicated than with the electricity option, as once you avail of this option, the standing charge payment is suspended and accrues as debt until you buy credit. As such, the emergency credit option for your gas meter should only be used as a last resort, as it makes it more difficult to plan and track your spending.
To view your reference number, emergency credit usage, gas usage and credit/debt information, you must press the red button on your meter and hold it for three seconds until a beep sounds, at which point you’ll be able to scroll through the menu to find the information you need.
If you’re finding it difficult to keep up with your gas payments, or are in debt for unpaid bills, changing to the Electric Ireland PAYG option can help you get back on your feet by spreading out your repayments. In this case, 25% of each top up will go to paying any debt and 75% will be used for standing charges, usage, and emergency credit. Electric Ireland will also send customers gas bills every two months, to aid in tracking their gas spending.
If you’re going to be away for a while or need to turn off your gas supply for any other reason, you’ll need to pick up a meter box key from a nearby hardware shop. Note that you’ll still be charged standing charges even if you’re not using any gas.
Electric Ireland provides numerous ways to top up your Pay As You Go accounts, which is obviously an important consideration when choosing a PAYG provider.
Top up options for electricity outweigh the ones available for gas in both number and ease of use, which is to be expected given the range of options available for smart meters.
Top Up Electricity
If you’re a SPAYG electricity customer,you can top up your account both online and offline. Offline top up options include:
- Top up wherever you see the Payzone sign. Payzones can be found in, but are not limited to; credit unions, newsagents and shops such as Spar, Centra and Supervalu. To see which one is closest to you, use the Payzone finder.
- You can also top up via SMS. Just text “EI top up (amount)”, e.g. “EI top up 20” to 53314. You must have your payment details registered and your phone number associated with your account in order to make use of this option.
Online top up options include:
- Register in order to be able to login online, manage your account, and top up.
- Top up online without registering.
- You can also top up via the Electric Ireland PAYG app which is available on Android and iOS.
Being able to make a one-off top up without registering strikes us as quite handy here at Selectra, as it could enable you to easily top up other people’s accounts, as long as you know their keypad number (an eight-digit number on the top up card or In Home Monitor).
The ability to sort out your elderly parents’ electricity or rescue your adult-children from cash flow problems of this sort, really adds value to Electric Ireland’s online portal, not to mention that if you’re in a rush and haven’t registered yet, the one-off top up option is a quick solution.
You can find the link to register to top up, or arrange a once-off top up here on our contacts page.
Top Up Gas
Top up options for your gas PAYG meter are less plentiful. The minimum amount for top ups is €10, the maximum is €50, and the maximum balance your card can hold is €250. You can top up your PAYG Gas card at:
- Any PayZone(link) outlet
- Any An Post(link) outlet
The first time you use your meter, or use any new top up gas card with it, you must insert the card into the meter prior to putting credit on it. Insert it into your meter for a minimum of 30 seconds with the gold chip facing towards the meter, and once the display no longer reads “Busy”, you can remove it and go top up your card at any of the outlets mentioned above.
To top up your meter after “synchronizing” your PAYG gas card with it and adding credit to your card, put the card in your meter (again, gold chip towards the display), press the red button, and only remove the card once display no longer says “Busy” (otherwise you might damage your card).
Top Up Card Replacement
If you should lose your electricity top up card, the process to get a new one is fairly painless just call Electric Ireland customer service, and they will send you a new one.
To replace your gas top up card, unlike with the electricity option, you cannot call up Electric Ireland to receive a new card, and must instead pick one up at Payzone outlet for €1. Unfortunately you must then return home and insert the new gas card unto your gas meter before you can head back out again to buy credit for it.
Electric Ireland Rewards is an attractive loyalty scheme for Electric Ireland customers.
Under the scheme, customers can obtain offers, retail discounts, vouchers for money off their energy bills, and even participate in competitions.
You are not automatically entered into the scheme when you register for Electric Ireland online, as your rewards account is separate to your billing account, so do be sure to sign up.
To sign up you’ll need your account number (which is on your Electric Ireland bill), contact details, and date of birth. Offers are regularly updated so make sure to check the rewards website often. If you have any issues with your rewards account, drop them a line by email.
One especially welcome aspect of the rewards scheme applies to customers who shop at SuperValu. SuperValu have their own rewards scheme, Real Rewards, which you can manage online through their website or through the SuperValu Real Rewards app for Android or iOS.
To sign up to the SuperValu Real Rewards scheme, pick up a Real Rewards card in any SuperValu, register it online, and then log on to your Electric Ireland rewards account. Navigate to the “Edit My Details” section, and add your card.
After registering your Real Rewards card, you will automatically earn Supervalu points for paying your bill, and as an added bonus an extra 250 points will be credited to your Real Rewards account within 90 days of paying your next Electric Ireland bill. Your Real Rewards card can be registered with up to two Electric Ireland accounts (e.g. your gas and your electricity accounts).
Once you have 250 Real Rewards points they can then be redeemed for a voucher code on the SuperValu rewards website or via the Real Rewards app. Enter your Electric Ireland Rewards account and you’ll see a specific page dedicated to this scheme labelled “Redeem SuperValu Voucher”. Simply enter your voucher code in this page and the voucher amount will be discounted from your next bill.
There is a catch though - within a sixty-day billing period you may only claim up to €10 off your bill - although if you are a dual fuel customer, this will apply to each account registered with your SuperValu Real Rewards card. This could result in a potential saving of €20 each sixty-day period, with a minimum of effort on your part - or in other words, nearly €120 a year in savings.
Electric Ireland offer a Smart Home subscription where the customer contracts one of two tariffs, priced at €3.99 and €7.99 respectively, and receives two Smart Plugs and free smart hub installation, among other benefits. Customers can then purchase additional accessories as needed from the Electric Ireland website such as solar panels or thermostats, which connect to their system.
What is a Smart Plug?A Smart Plug is a device you plug into a socket and connect appliances to, in order to be able to remotely activate/deactivate them and/or monitor usage. See our article on smart home devices for more information.
The aim behind this service is to reduce customer energy usage and energy bill costs by maximising efficiency through the use of available renewable energy (such as energy efficient solar panels on unused roof space) and enabling customers to reduce energy wastage - in short, to save the environment and save money.
With both the €3.99 and €7.99 the customer will receive two smart plugs, real time usage information, bill forecasting, free installation, and the option to add remote immersion control for an additional €2.99 a month. The €7.99 option also includes a smarter home meating thermostat such as Nest or Climote. All options are 36 month contracts.
If you subscribe to the Smart Home service you can also download the Smarter Home App, and remotely control your household’s energy usage.
Rates & Tariffs
There are so many offers on the market that it can be hard to see the actual end cost of different tariffs, so here at Selectra we’ve done some of the work for you. Below you can see the cost of the standard Electric Ireland rates and tariffs, as well as the cost after the best deal available has been applied.
Last Updated: September 2018
|Carbon Tax kWh||0.42c|
|PAYG Service Charge|
|Yearly Average Bill||€790.08|
|Best Discount||8.5% off unit rate plus €200 credit|
|Discounted Yearly Bill||€735.27|
Last Updated: September 2018
The most recent information available on the fuel mix used by Electric Ireland is from 2017 and we've provided it in the chart you can see below.
Electric Ireland's dependance on gas for energy generation is 54.4% when compared with the all-island average of 40%. Their coal and peat usage is slightly below average use, and has decreased from 2016 levels. Electric Ireland's renewable usage fails to meet the grade at 32.4% compared with the island-wide average of 44.5%, but has improved by nearly 2.5% from 2016.
Electric Ireland came first in a Which? customer survey 2016 for their services offered in Northern Ireland, with a customer satisfaction score of 80%, however in the same survey in 2017 their score had dropped to 64% and they came in third place. Customers in the north were happy with bill accuracy, but only reasonably happy with their customer service (which received a score of 50%).
In 2018 customers in the Republic of Ireland have been particularly unhappy with Electric Ireland’s customer service, describing it as poor, and needing to make several calls to resolve straightforward issues. However customers agreed that the customer service agents were very polite and pleasant to deal with.
In addition, the move in bonus was well-received by customers and the ease of switching online was highly rated. Customers are also big fans of Electric Ireland’s loyalty scheme and the discounts available.
Energy Ireland currently offers two different applications for both the Android and iOS platforms, the PAYG top up app and the Smarter Home app.
PAYG Electricity Top-Up (Android)/Top Up Now (iOS)
Google Play rating:★★★★★
iTunes app store: ★★★★★
This app is for topping up and managing Electric Ireland electricity PAYG accounts. If your details are registered you can quickly and easily make one-click top ups for preset amounts, make one-off top ups, and review and update your top up history and personal details.
After investigating reviews on this app, Electric Ireland customers in Northern Ireland were unhappy they cannot use their Northern Irish phone number to register. There are also many complaints regarding faults with the app, especially around operating system version update rollouts.
Customers who were completely satisfied with the app cited it as being quick and easy to use, as well as some posts asserting that the app enabled them to avoid paying the 50 cent surcharge some shops charge for topping up - PayZone and PayPoint contracts with shops stipulate that the customer should not have to pay any extra “service” charge on top of fuel value and as such you should'nt be asked to pay a surcharge in order to top up.
Smarter Home App (Android)/EI Smarter Home (iOS)
Google Play rating: ★★★★★
iTunes app store: ★★★★★
This app is only for customers who have subscribed to the Electric Ireland Smarter Homes service, and allows customers to monitor and analyse their electricity usage in much more detail. Customers can control appliances and monitor the exact usage of those appliances via Smart Plugs, and this could potentially result in a real saving benefit if consumers apply the information they obtain to increasing their household’s energy efficiency.
Devices with Smart Plugs can also be turned on or off remotely, including the immersion water heater if paired with the Smart Immersion Control accessory.
Customers opinions of this app were varied, and most negative reviews resulted from device incompatibility issues and registration issues. Satisfied customers were happy with the control over their usage the app gave them, and highly rated the ability to turn on and off the immersion remotely.