What happens when an energy supplier leaves the Irish market?
Caoimhe Bermingham
Staff Writer

The ongoing gas and electricity crisis has forced many energy companies to withdraw their services from Ireland and bow out of the Irish energy market.

If you are one of the thousands of Irish gas and electricity consumers whose energy supplier has unexpectedly left the Irish market, you may be wondering what your next call of action is or if your energy supply is going to be affected by the departure. 

You will discover the answers to these questions and more within this guide. 

If my supplier leaves the market will I be affected?

You’ll be happy to hear that your gas and electricity supply will not be affected by your supplier's departure. 

This is because the Commission for Regulations of Utilities (CRU) will enact its Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) process that works to safeguard energy consumers' access to gas and electricity when a supplier unexpectedly leaves the market. 

What is the Supplier of Last Resort process?

Unless you decide to switch energy suppliers before your existing provider ends its services, the CRU will automatically transfer all of the exiting supplier's customers to the CRU’s designated short-place replacement suppliers for gas and electricity. 

The CRU’s SoLR supplier for electricity is Electric Ireland and for gas it is Bord Gáis Energy

You should submit a meter reading to ESB Networks or Gas Networks Ireland to ensure that an accurate read can be transferred to your new supplier and so you are not subjected to an estimated meter read. This will help avoid any possible larger catchup bills in the future. 

You can find out how to get a smart meter reading here

It’s also important to note that if you are transferred to the SoLR, you will be charged at their standard rate, meaning your energy bills could increase significantly. 

This is because Electric Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy do not consider you a new customer because your account was transferred over, therefore you can’t avail of their discounted energy tariffs.

What happens if I have credit or debt built up with my existing supplier?

Any credit or debt you have with your existing supplier can not be transferred over to the SoLR. This is because the SoLR does not have access to your old supplier’s billing system and is therefore not able to quantify this. 

You should continue to pay your bills as normal. 

You will have to contact your existing supplier and deal with them directly to ensure your credit is refunded into your bank account or that you have paid off the balance of any outstanding debt. 

Can I switch to a different supplier during or after the SoLR process?

No, you can not.

Once the last resort protocol has gotten underway you will then have to wait for 90 days until you can move to a different gas or electricity supplier. 

The CRU does this to ensure that all customers receive continuity of supply during this busy period.

However, after this period of time has ended you will be able to move to another supplier whenever you see fit. 

Can I switch suppliers myself instead of using the SoLR?

Yes, you can. 

Your existing supplier will provide you with a small window of time in which you can switch to a new supplier before the Supplier of Last Resort protocol begins. Usually this will last a few days so be sure to check the dates you can do this. Depending on your supplier, you may not have to pay an early exit or transfer fee

By switching to a new supplier yourself, you will be able to avail of your new supplier’s discounted energy tariffs for new customers. 

On bonkers.ie, you can easily switch suppliers by using our free gas and electricity comparison services. 

We even have a switching energy supplier guide which outlines this procedure step by step. 

What happens if I began the move to another supplier before my existing supplier announced its departure?

If you were already in the process of moving from your old supplier to a new one, you should check with your new supplier to see if the switch has been completed correctly. 

This is because any switches that were currently being processed before your old supplier announced its departure may have been cancelled as part of the technical transfer to the SoLR. 

How will I be affected if I have to get my gas and electricity from different suppliers? 

You will continue to receive your gas and electricity supply. However, if your gas supplier leaves the energy market, then only your gas account will be affected and will be automatically moved to the gas SoLR, Bord Gáis Energy. 

The same can be said if only your electricity supplier exits the market. 

However, if you are a dual fuel customer with the exiting supplier, then both your gas and electricity accounts will be moved to Electric Ireland for electricity and Bord Gáis Energy for gas. This means two suppliers will now be providing you with your gas and electricity supply rather than one. 

Will I receive a final invoice from my existing supplier?

Yes, you will.

Even though your current supplier is exiting the market, you must pay off any remaining balance you owe to the supplier. Unpaid fees will not be transferred over to your new supplier or SoLR. You will be charged up to the date you transfer to a new supplier or to the SoLR. 

You should continue to pay your bill in your usual payment method i.e. direct debit. 

I am a pay-as-you-go gas and electricity customer, how will I be affected?

If you are a prepay customer, you will continue to have your energy supply until the credit on your meter runs out.

After this happens, the next time you top-up, you will be buying your credit from the SoLR. 

What do I do if I am a Level Pay customer? 

When you receive your final bill from your supplier that is exiting the market, you will also be charged any remaining balance due. 

This fee will be collected by direct debit. 

How will a supplier’s exit impact Priority and Vulnerable Customers? 

If you are a registered Priority or Vulnerable customer, the network operator will provide your details to the SoLR suppliers so they are aware of your needs and the level of service and protection you require. 

If you are concerned that you might not be on the vulnerable customer register when you should, you should contact the SoLR to inform them of your needs. 

What happens to my customer data? 

All customer data will be transferred to the SoLR suppliers and will be protected as per the terms and conditions of the EU data protection law.

Who do I contact if I have more questions regarding the Supplier of Last Resort process?

You can contact Electric Ireland or Bord Gáis Energy if you have any additional questions. 

According to the CRU, their contact details are as follows:

Electric Ireland: 

  • 1800 372 372 or (01) 852 9534

Bord Gáis Energy: 

  • (01) 611 01 01 or (01) 611 01 51 (Domestic) 
  • 01 611 01 33 (Business)

Switch suppliers and save on your bills

To avoid being placed on a standard energy rate by an SoLR supplier, you should switch to a gas and electricity supplier of your choice to avail their discounted energy tariffs. 

To do this, all you need to do is head over to our free energy price comparison service to find the best value energy deals on the market. 

To learn about the switching process, check out these guides below:

But why stop there? You can cut the cost of your bills across broadband, banking or insurance products on our site. 

So start your savings journey today on bonkers.ie!

Remember, you can keep up to date with all the latest energy-related news on our blogs and guides pages.

Get in touch with us

Has your gas or electricity supplier recently left the market? Do you have any more questions regarding their exit, if so send us a message today! You can contact us on  Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.