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Sundaytimes

Money Made Easy... Your Five Minute Guide to Getting a Better Energy Deal

The entry of waste company Panda to the electricity market may provide some relief for consumers, in the short term at least. The company, which has 150,000 waste customers, launched Panda Power last week and plans to spend €40m in phase one.  - Mark Channing

Ireland is the third most expensive country in Europe for electricity, according to figures published by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office. The picture gets even worse when government taxes and levies are excluded, making Irish electricity prices the highest in the EU. According to the price comparison site Bonkers.ie, an average household now pays €l,2ll a year for electricity. We tell you where to get a cheaper deal.

Do Irish consumers really pay the most?

The Commission for Regulation (CER) disputes Eurostat’s figures, saying they misrepresent Irish electricity costs compared with the rest of Europe.

It argues that Eurostat uses an electricity consumption level comparison between the Irish and European electricity price.

"If you look at the price comparison data for the typical domestic electricity consumption band in Ireland, prices compare reasonably favourably with Europe saida CER spokesman. According to the CERs calculations, Irish electricity prices are the sixth most expensive in Europe, including taxes and levies.

Where will I get the cheapest deals?

Panda, which sources power exclusively from renewable energy sources, claims the lowest rate on the market, at 15.47 cent per unit. Energia last week launched it’s SmartChoice tariff for electricity; the offer ends on July 31 and you have to use the promo code CHEEP180 to get the deal.

A household on Electric Ireland’s standard tariff using the national average energy consumption saves €158 a year by switching to Energia, according to Bonkers.ie. Existing Energia customers whose introductory discount has expired should switch to the next cheapest provider, currently Electric Ireland’s ValueSavertariff. Flogas is the cheapest gas-only provider, saving an average household €148 a year on Bord Gais Energy’s standard gas rates. The cheapest dual fuel bundle - where you buy your electricity and gas from the same supplier - is Energia’s CHEEP Dual Fuel tariff

Is there any reward for loyalty?

Yes and no. Providers discounts expire after 12 months, so being loyal to a supplier for longer than this means you move on to standard rates and will be charged substantially more for your energy. Providers do, however, have ongoing reward programmes for customers. Bord Gais Energy customers can get Tesco Club card points for paying their bills. For every €2 you pay off your bill, you get one Tesco Clubcardpoint. 150 points is equal to a Clubcard voucher worth €150.

You can also put Clubcard vouchers earned from shopping in Tesco towards your bill. Every €10 Tesco Club card voucher is equal to €20 off your electricity bill.

Electric Ireland operates a similar programme with customers getting SuperValu and Superquinn reward points for paying their energy bill. You earn one reward point for every €2 paid.

Airtricity has partnered with fuel retailer Applegreen, whose reward points earned for buying fuel or making instore purchase can be used against your energy bill. You get one Applegreen reward point for each litre of fuel bought or four points for every €1 spent in store, and 1,000 reward points equal €10 off your Airtricity bill. Energia customers can get discounts in hotels and a range of other retailers.

Top tip

Staying with a provider because of their reward programme is unlikely to save you more money than switching. The combined savings for gas and electricity between the cheapest and standard tariffs can be as much as €300 a year for households, based on the national average consumption.

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