By Christian McCashin
Bord Gáis has upped the ante in the energy price war – with a new ‘back to school' offer on electricity and gas.
The discount deal is the fifth top energy companies have offered so far this year.
If householders take up the offer, they could see savings of more than €150 on their annual bill and they will also receive a €75 voucher for Tesco. It has been described as an attractive" bundle by price-comparison experts but it is still not the cheapest one on the market.
The Irish Daily Mail can reveal that using Energia for electricity and Flogas for gas
results in an annual bill of around €1,754 – or €314 below the average.
The latest bid to lure customers by one of the big energy companies follows on from a number of deals advertised his year.
Just last month, SSE Airtricity cut gas and electricity prices that would save customers more than €100 a rear. The 5% price drop just a few weeks ago was in reaction to Electric Ireland cutting its rates by 6%.
The Bord Gáis bundle aimed at luring new customers offers families 12% off electricity and 10% off gas plus the tesco voucher if they sign up for both.
New electricity-only customers are offered 10% off plus the Tesco toucher, and new -only customers are offered an 8% discount.
The bundles are being targeted at families ahead of the back-to-school splurge. But Bord Gáis manager Eolin Bebbington said existing customers can also avail of the deals.
'Mums and dads are always under pressure with the back-to-school preparations and it can be a busy and expensive time of year, he said.
We know our customers have varying needs and we're committed to providing value, choice and flexibility with our offers. This applies not only to new customers but also to our loyal customer base."
Simon Moynihan, of price comparison website Bonkers.ie, said: "It's just the timing of it that it's called “Back to School". It's their standard discount tariff, it's a perfectly fine deal. Normally what they'll do is give you €100 off your bill when you want it. That's their regular way, now what they're saying is they'll give a €75 Tesco voucher. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. “It's handy as it'll come in in time to buy any back-to-school things. If you want a little cash up-front it's great.
"The old deal was €100 off your bill, that's all great, but it's not the same as being able to walk into Tesco with €75 to buy copybooks and lunch boxes and shoes and stuff."
However he said rival firm Energia is still the cheapest of the lot".
He added: A lot of people are loyal to Bord Gais because of the Club Card points. You earn them as shop in Tesco and you can use them to pay for your bill.
“The new Bord Gáis Energy Back to-school deals discounts may not be the cheapest in the marketplace, but they are decent and will save you money over standard rates.
“The €75 voucher will definitely offer an incentive to sign up at this time of year too."
An average family living in a three bedroom house pays about €2,067 per year for electricity and gas, on average. But with the new Bord Gáis deal the annual bill would be €1.915 — a saving of €151, plus the addition of the Tesco voucher.
A spokesman for the Commission for Energy Regulation hailed the continuing price war.
Prices are coming down and this is good for the consumer. This is what we want to see," he said.
The fierce competition between the main energy companies has seen a surge in people switching suppliers for better deals. The CER spokesman revealed that we're the highest in Europe when it comes to the rate of switching gas suppliers and the second highest for electricity.
‘Also what's happening now is renegotiation of existing deals with suppliers are more prevalent and we are monitoring them, he added. So not only are people switching but they are renegotiating their existing deals."