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Electric Ireland launch new price plans - we take a look

Electric Ireland launch new price plans - we take a look

Today Electric Ireland became the first energy supplier to launch new price plans for 2012. They’ve also become the first energy supplier to introduce a fixed price plan, which guarantees not to increase prices until the end of March 2013. And they’ve put together a few retention deals to keep their existing customers happy and stop them from bailing when their cheap plans expire in March.

There are 11 new price plans in total, but lucky for us they fall into four pretty straightforward categories. We’ll have a look at who the plans are aimed at, whether they are good value and what they’ll save you off standard rates. We’ll also take a look at the features and the funny stuff. But don’t worry, we we’ll keep it simple! And of course if you want to compare these plans to your current energy tariff, you can. We've loaded them all to bonkers.ie - we'll even strip out the stuff you're not eligible for. It's all here in our Energy Centre.

First up though, if we’re going to be looking at prices, we need to have a benchmark, so here it is. If you’ve never switched or changed your price plan (and believe it or not, most of us haven’t!), then you’re probably on Bord Gais and Electric Ireland’s Standard urban rates. Here’s what that will cost you for a year if you’re an average user:

Standard Pricing

Electricity: €1,116
Gas: €876
Gas & Electricity combined: €1,992


.So here goes for our simple overview of Electric Ireland’s new plans…


1. ValueSaver
The acquisition plans

These are the plans with the best prices, and are only for new or returning customers. To get the best rates you need to pay by direct debit and get your bills online, but anyone who’s switched before is used to that, so no big issue there. The best prices you can get per year for an average customer are below:

Electricity:    €1009     - saving off Standard - €107
Gas:              €824       - saving off Standard - €52
Dual:             €1,803    - saving off Standard - €189*

Who should consider this plan?

If you’ve switched before, this could the deal for you. Sure, you can get electricity for about €44 less per year from Bord Gais, and Airtricity does dual fuel for about €52 less per year with a two year contract. But here’s the thing; the best deals from all three suppliers are for new customers only. That means if you’ve been a Bord Gais electricity customer you’re no longer entitled to the best Bord Gais rates. Likewise for gas and electricity with Airtricity.

What you should know:

  • If you’re a current Electric Ireland customer you can’t sign up to this plan, but you can if you're a returning customer.
  • For dual fuel customers, this is a choice plan. You get up to 14% off Electric Ireland gas or electricity Standard rates. You choose which. Then you get 6% off the other one. So make sure you take the biggest discount off the one you spend the most on. For a household with average consumption, taking the biggest discount on electricity is the best value.
  • There’s a contract until 31st March 2013 and if you switch away, you’ll pay a penalty of €50 regardless of whether you have gas, electricity or dual fuel. This is new for Electric Ireland, but it's not new. Airtricity have had contracts and penalties since 2010.


Fixed Price
The peace-of-mind plans

This is Ireland’s first fixed price gas and electricity plan, although they are pretty popular in the UK because prices over there are up and down like yo-yos. We do seem to be getting that way here though. Last autumn we all got hammered with huge price increases, so anyone thinking that it could happen again in 2012 can now fix prices to protect against it.

Electric Ireland’s Fixed Price plan is available to new and existing customers but you have to have both gas and electricity to sign up. You’ve got to pay by direct debit and you get a 3% discount that you can apply to the gas or electricity unit rate. Again, you choose which, but for an average user, the electricity option is cheaper.

Fixed price plans in the UK are usually much more expensive than standard deals, but Electric Ireland hasn’t really gone that way. This plan is only about €32 more expensive per year than paying for Standard gas and electricity. And with that, here’s the numbers for the cheapest version:

Dual €2,021 – saving off Standard – none, it’s €32 more

Who should consider this plan?

Anyone who’s worried about major price fluctuations in the next six months or so. With oil embargos, increased taxes and rising wholesale prices, it could certainly happen. This plan is about 12% more expensive than the cheapest plan out there – so if prices went up again in six months as much as they did last October, you’d probably be a little ahead of the game by March 2013 when the tariff expires.

What you should know

  • This is a dual fuel plan and you have to pay by direct debit. There’s no electricity only version.
  •  The pricing is about the same as Standard gas and electricity plans, but it’s fixed which means if everything else goes up, your prices stay the same until March 31st 2013.
  • The combined standing charges are about a tenner more per year than you'd pay for Standard.
  • If you sign up, you’re on contract until March 31st and like the other plans, if you switch, there’s a penalty of €50.


Value Reward
The retention plans

These plans are for existing customers. They are not as cheap as the “ValueSaver” deals, but they do offer decent discounts off Electric Ireland Standard rates. Primarily I’d say they are aimed at customers that are about to come off those SuperSaver tariffs at the end of March. Again, for these deals to be worthwhile, you’ll need to pay by direct debit and get your bills online. Below are the best prices you can get per year for an average customer:

Electricity:    €1,058     - saving off Standard - €58
Dual:             €1,852    - saving off Standard - €140
Gas:              n/a**

Who should consider this plan?

If you've been a bit of a serial switcher and exhausted introductory discounts from Bord Gais and Airtricity, and your Electric Ireland SuperSaver deal is running out in March, this plan could be for you. Ok, that sounds a bit involved, but like we said above, it's not the best deal, it's really there to soften the blow and keep you sweet for another year.

What you should know:

  • ValueReward plans are only available to existing Electric Ireland customers.
  • Dual fuel is also a choice plan (similar to ValueSaver dual fuel). You get up to 9% off Electric Ireland gas or electricity Standard rates. You choose which. Then you get 6% off the other one. So make sure you take the biggest discount off the one you spend the most on. For a household with average consumption, taking the biggest discount on electricity is the best value.
  • There's a contract until 31st March 2013 and again, a penalty of €50 regardless of whether you have gas, electricity or dual fuel.


Green
The granola plans

Green tariffs don't have a huge share of the market in Ireland and about 12% of our electricity is green. However, if you sign up to a Green deal it means that your electricity company has to invest more in producing renewable energy. And the more people that sign up to Green tariffs, the more electricity will be produced from renewable sources... and on it goes. This is a decent Green plan. It's pricing is the same as the ValueReward plans and anyone can sign up whether new or existing customers. There's also a dual fuel option and although the gas isn't green, Electric Ireland will give you a 6% unit rate discount for direct debit and online billing in addition to a 9% dicount off electricity unit rates. Here's the numbers:

Electricity:    €1,058     - saving off Standard - €58
Dual:             €1,852    - saving off Standard - €140
Gas:              n/a - you can't really have a green standalone gas plan

Who should consider this plan?

If you're an existing Electric Ireland customer and you're about to come off your SuperSaver deal, this could be a good option. Because it's priced the same as ValueSaver, you can do your bit to push for a greener Ireland without any extra cost. And if you're environmentally conscious, it does offer reasonably priced electricity and dual fuel plans.

What you should know:

  • Anyone can sign up to this plan, but you've got to pay by direct debit and manage bills online.
  • You get up to 9% off Electric Ireland Standard electricity rates and 6% off gas rates for dual fuel customers.
  • There's a contract until 31st March 2013 and again, a penalty of €50 regardless of whether you have electricity or dual fuel.

 

* Yup, we noticed that too. €107 and €52 don't add up to €189 - the reason it's higher is that you get an additional discount of 3% off one of your fuels for taking dual fuel.
** There isn't a gas only ValueReward plan.


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