Business energy supplier Energia has announced today that it plans to enter the domestic gas and electricity market in early 2014.
The company, which currently has around 65,000 business customers across the country, has said that it will offer significantly discounted electricity and gas to residential customers from January.
Although domestic prices for Energia haven not yet been formally announced, Viridian CEO Ian Thom said that he intended to compete strongly in an interview with the Irish Times some months ago.
“We will want to be competitive against the market. You have got be price competitive, otherwise you won’t get off first base. People are very value-conscious because of all the other demands that are made on their budgets,” said Mr Thom.
It has been reported to bonkers.ie that Energia has begun leaflet drops in targeted areas offering customers the opportunity to sign up pre-launch. Prices have not been included with the leaflets, but early indications are that Energia will offer discounts of around 15% off their standard unit rates to new customers.
Energia’s entry into the residential market will increase the number of domestic electricity suppliers to six and the number of gas suppliers to five.
More than 300,000 Power NI customers in Northern Ireland current have pay-as-you-go meters. This represents around half of Power NI’s customer base and is a market strategy that Viridian CEO Ian Thom has indicated he is interested in for the Republic. He has said that he’d like to see general access to these types of meters and believes they help to keep down arrears.
Currently these types of meters are only available to customers that are seriously in arrears, or to customers prepared to pay additional prepayment service charges and undiscounted full price rates. There has been no indication of how Energia may structure its prepayment pricing.
Energia has said that 100 new jobs will be created in the next 12 months as part of its entry into the residential electricity and gas market. Energia has already recruited 20 of the new positions as part of its residential market preparations. Jobs will be located in Dublin and Cork.
Viridian is currently the sole active bidder for Bord Gais Energy. Centrica, the UK company that owns British Gas, has dropped out of the bidding because it says the reserve price of €1 billion is too high. American investment firm Blackstone has also dropped out of the bidding.