Gas and electricity
Electricity and gas bills are a substantial part of household costs. The most common issues affecting energy consumers fall into six areas:
- Switching provider
- Getting a new connection
- Setting up a new account
- Loss of service
- Changing your mind about switching supplier
If your home has not previously been connected to the electricity or gas network, then you will first need to apply to have a new connection installed. This involves having the physical wires and pipes brought to just outside your home by the relevant network operators – ESB Networks for electricity or Gas Networks Ireland for gas.
|To get connected for the first time to the electricity network, you can:||To get connected for the first time to the gas network, you can:
|A – Contact ESB Networks, which is responsible for all connections to the electricity network.||A – Contact Gas Networks Ireland, which is responsible for all connections to the gas network.|
|B – Sign up as a customer with any electricity supplier who will organise the connection to the network with ESB Networks for you.||B – Sign up as a customer with any gas supplier who will organise the connection to the network with Gas Networks Ireland for you.|
|You can contact ESB Networks directly on 1850 372 757. Find out more about getting connected to the electricity network.||You can contact Gas Networks Ireland directly on 1850 200 694 or email email@example.com. Find out more about getting connected to the gas network.
Remember, ESB Networks and Gas Networks Ireland will set up your connection to the electricity and gas networks, but in order to use the electricity and gas you must have a meter installed. To have a meter installed, you must sign up as a customer with one of the electricity or gas providers.
For internal electrical work, always use a registered electrical contractor. You can find one on the Register of Electrical Contractors of Ireland. For gas installations within your home, always use a Registered Gas Installer (RGI). It is an offence for anyone other than an RGI to carry out work on the installation, repair, maintenance or servicing of domestic natural gas appliances and equipment.
If you have just bought a home or are about to start renting somewhere, the property may already be connected to the electricity and gas networks. If so, all you need to do is set up a new electricity or gas account.
If the previous owner or occupier has not closed the existing account, you may be able to transfer this account into your name. You may have to take a meter reading and, if possible, agree a date for transferring the account into your name with the person who lived there before you. Contact the electricity or gas supplier you want to use – they will tell you the status of any existing accounts and what you need to do.
If you find your gas or electricity supply has suddenly stopped, check with your supplier or the network operator. There may be a fault in your area, like a power cut or maintenance, and your supplier or the network operator will explain the details to you.
If you have been disconnected by your provider, an engineer from Gas Networks Ireland or ESB Networks will leave a note in your letterbox explaining that they have disconnected you on the instruction of your supplier.
Both ESB Networks and Gas Networks Ireland have a customer charter giving various service level guarantees for connections to the network and supply issues. You can get more details below:
Your meter shows how much electricity or gas you use. Meter readers visit your home three to four times a year to read your meter. The rest of the time your usage is estimated or you can provide a reading yourself to your supplier.
This estimate is based on previous consumption, and any necessary adjustment is made when the next reading is obtained.
You can correct an estimated reading by giving your energy supplier the correct reading from your meter. Details of how to do this are included with your bill.
If a meter reader left their card saying you were not there when they called, you should follow any instructions on the card in order to submit your reading.
Pre-paid energy contracts
Pre-pay energy contracts are now available and offer another alternative for you to pay for your energy. These contracts do not involve bills, but instead you add credit through a new unit which is installed in your home by the provider of the pre-pay service. As you use electricity, the unit uses the credit you have entered. As with all contracts, you need to read and be happy with all the terms and conditions and charges before signing up.
If you have a complaint about billing or quality of service by your energy supplier you should complain to your energy supplier first. If you have a complaint about your connection you should complain to the network operator, either Gas Networks Ireland or ESB Networks.
If you are unhappy with the response you get you can take the complaint to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), which offers an independent complaint resolution service. However, you must complain to the energy company or network operator first, to give them a chance to fix the problem.
If you are still unhappy with any resolution proposed by CRU, you are free to seek legal advice, or, if the amount is less than €2,000, you could consider taking a case through the Small Claims process in the District Court.
If you think you have rushed a decision to switch, or you simply change your mind, remember you have a 14 day cooling-off period. So if you are not happy you can cancel your order to switch as long as the service hasn’t already begun and as long as you haven’t waived this right. If you have signed-up to a new supplier on your doorstep, we have details on your rights when buying on your doorstep