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Best Electric Ireland Pay As You Go Options

electric Ireland logo with prepayment meter

Electric Ireland has two different types of Pay As You Go options - PAYG and SPAYG. Currently, customers can only opt into SPAYG (Smarter Pay As You Go) for their pay as you go electricity needs.

Electric Ireland prepay services for electricity (not smart meters, which would be SPAYG) and gas are only available for customers who are having trouble meeting their bills or have accrued debt which they may be finding difficult to pay off. In this article, we’ll be focusing on PAYG.

How do I get pay as you go with Electric Ireland?

A blue energy meter

If you find that you are falling behind with your credit meter payments, or experience a change in personal or professional circumstances that may make it difficult for you to meet future bills, we recommend that you contact Electric Ireland as soon as possible to discuss the situation with them. Pay as you go electricity could be one of the solutions offered to you.

Depending on your personal circumstances, Electric Ireland may then offer to install a PAYG meter for you free of charge, in order to help you manage your budget more easily, or pay off any debt you have built up with them.

We recommend that you do not put off contacting EI if you are experiencing payment difficulties, as your services may be cut off. You could then subsequently be even worse off financially as you might be charged a reconnection fee.

For those who have outstanding debt to pay off, 25% of all top-ups will be used to pay off the outstanding balance when you move to Electric Ireland pay as you go. This means that if you top up with €20, for example, then €15 will be credited to your meter and €5 paid off your debt.

SPAYG: Electric Ireland Smarter Pay As You Go

SPAYG refers to Electric Ireland's Smarter Pay As You Go option - it is an opt-in tariff with a smart meter and an In-Home monitor which is meant to encourage customers to become more aware of their energy habits and reduce energy consumption. For more information on SPAYG, you can check out our Electric Ireland SPAYG article (coming soon!).

SPAYG customers can top up via their online account! Find out how to access your account with our Electric Ireland login guide.

How do I top up my Electric Ireland pay as you go meter?

You can top up your Electric Ireland pay as you go meter through Payzone, online if registered with them, or offline in any Payzone outlet. Top up by text is also possible. For more details on the ins and outs of topping up with Electric Ireland, check out our Electric Ireland top up guide.

Electric Ireland Pay as you go rates

A lot of customers wonder if they will end up paying more on a pay as you go meter (Spoiler alert: yes, you will). Are the rates higher? Well, that's actually not the main issue here.

Customers on Electric Ireland PAYG meters will pay the same standing charge and electricity and gas rates as those on regular credit meters.

However, there are two factors that combine to make PAYG more expensive, not just with Electric Ireland, but with all Irish energy suppliers across the board.

  1. Pay as you go electricity customers are not offered the same discounts off their unit rates that credit meter customers are.
  2. PAYG customers may pay the same standing charge as credit meter customers, but they also pay an additional charge, called a PAYG service charge.

With Electric Ireland, the PAYG charge is currently set at 19c per day to cover the maintenance costs of your PAYG meter. That works out to approximately €70 extra a year, on top of the fact that pay as you go electricity customers are missing out on discounts of up to 11% on their gas and electric unit rates.

Electric Ireland pay as you go is expensive, but you can still get discounts with Electric Ireland Rewards.

Combine all these factors, and customers on PAYG can end up shelling out at least €100-€200 more annually. For more information on PAYG services and rates in Ireland, take a look at our general Pay as you go electricity in Ireland guide. If you live in Dublin or Cork, you can also check out your city's guide to find the local rates.

It is quite difficult to encounter Electric Ireland’s PAYG rates and charges, as the EI website only displays their SPAYG charges and discounted unit rates for credit meter customers. However, after some investigation, we have been able to break it down as follows: (All prices are inclusive of VAT)

Item Charge
Electricity Unit Price €0.1922 per kWh
Gas Unit Price €0.05391 per kWh
Annual Standing Charge (Urban) €167.24
Annual Standing Charge (Rural) €220.64
Annual PSO Levy €48.68
PAYG Service Charge €0.19* per day

(Prices checked 13/04/2020)

*PAYG service charge is set at 19c per day on the website, however, Electric Ireland agents have said that this charge can sometimes be waived if customers have a PAYG meter as part of a debt repayment scheme.

Is Electric Ireland cheaper than Prepaypower?

When it comes to Prepaypower vs Electric Ireland the short answer is that Electric Ireland are cheaper than Prepaypower. You would save €176,87 less if you switched from Prepaypower to Electric Ireland based on average consumption figures for an urban home with a 24-hour meter and with all the discounts and cashback applied. Below you can a quick price comparison of the cheapest prepay providers in Ireland. However, it's always sensible to do a comparison as each quote will be unique.

Here at Selectra, our trained advisors can find you the best renewable electricity plan for your home. Call 15 256 882 now or request a callback to get a free comparison.


Cheapest Prepayment Electricity Offer per Supplier
Supplier Best offer Price per year
Electric Ireland €150 Cashback €1,084.75
Pinergy 40% off from 6pm-10pm €1,045.63
PrepayPower Classic €1,261.03

Calculations based on average consumption figures for an urban home with a 24-hour meter. All discounts and cashback have been applied. Last updated: November 2020

PAYG is the most expensive way to pay for energy.Call us and we'll help move you to a cheaper tariff, fast. Call 15 256 882 or get a free callback now.


The few reviews for Electric Ireland that mention PAYG, unfortunately, tend to be overwhelmingly negative. Electric Ireland pay as you go customers have claimed to have been charged final bills upon closing their accounts, despite the point of PAYG being to - literally - pay as you go. Delays in receiving meter cards and high tariffs have also been mentioned.

“Excessively high tariff spent £20 on a top-up which lasted 9 days which I have now had to top up. In comparison to this time last year, the same amount for the same usage would have lasted at 16 days with Airtricity” by an Electric Ireland customer

However, due to the scarcity of reviews mentioning PAYG in relation to Electric Ireland, these reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt as they are not representative of the whole.


If you should experience any issues with topping up, or wish to make a complaint or enquire about Electric Ireland pay as you go, you’ll find all of the contact details for Electric Ireland’s services and departments on our Electric Ireland contact page.

How to I get emergency credit on an Electric Ireland meter?

If your credit is about to run out and you don’t have time to get to the shops, no need to worry as Electric Ireland provide a generous €10 emergency credit. To get emergency credit, just press any key on your meter keypad when your credit is running low and the meter is beeping.

Any emergency credit used will be deducted from your next top-up.

Prepayment meter problems?We can help you solve your top issues quickly and without hassle. Call 15 256 882 or get a free callback now.

Friendly credit hours

Apart from your PAYG emergency credit facility, you also have the advantage of friendly credit hours with Electric Ireland. “Friendly credit” refers to certain dates and times that Electric Ireland will not cut you off if you use up all your credit and emergency credit. Note that you will still have to pay back any emergency credit and friendly credit used up, and these will be deducted from your next top-up.

Friendly credit hours are:

  • Monday to Thursday: from 5 pm to 9 am, late March to October, and from 4 pm to 8 am starting late October until late March.
  • From 5 pm on Friday until 9 am on Monday morning.
  • Certain dates and holidays: 1st January (New Year’s Day), 17th March (St. Patrick’s Day), 24th December (Christmas Eve), 25th December (Christmas Day), 26th December (St. Stephen’s Day) & 31st December (New Year’s Eve).

Please note that bank holidays are not credit friendly days, and as such, if you run out of both credit and emergency credit on those days, your electricity and/or gas supply will be cut off.

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