Gas & Electricity

What is the low user standing charge?

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Image Simon Moynihan
Staff Writer

The Low User Standing Charge is an additional charge that some Electric Ireland customers pay when using an average of two units or less of electricity per day in a two month billing cycle. The charge currently stands at €5.25 per bi-monthly billing cycle.

What energy suppliers charge a Low User Standing Charge?

If you're not an Electric Ireland customer, you won't be charged.

Why does Electric Ireland charge a Low User Standing Charge?

Electric Ireland introduced the Low User Standing Charge in 2012 to “recover the costs associated with providing electricity to customers with very low usage.” These fixed costs include those charged for meter reading, servicing and network maintenance.

Electric Ireland has said that without the charge they are unable to recover the cost of supplying electricity to low usage customers. In some cases, these costs are not recovered fully, where a building is left vacant for example.

How much is it?

The Low User Standing Charge costs €5.25 (inc. VAT) per billing period, or every 61 days. This is 8.63 cents more per day than the normal standing charge.

How is the charge calculated?

The Low User Standing Charge is calculated and billed every two months, so it is possible that you may be charged in some billing cycles and not in others.

If you use an average of two units (2kWh) or less of electricity every day for a billing cycle (61 days), you will receive a low-user standing charge.

If you do use 122 kWh of electricity every two months (732 kWh in a year), you would be using just 17% of the national average energy consumption, which is 4,200kWh of electricity.

Am I likely to be charged?

All Electric Ireland customers who use two units of electricity or less will have to pay the Low User Standing Charge. Customers likely to be charged are those with holiday homes or properties that are not in regular use.

Are there any exemptions to the Low User Standing Charge?

Yes. Customers who receive a Free Electricity Allowance do not have to pay the Low User Standing Charge. 

Customers on Household Budget Plan and Pay As You Go meters are also exempt from the charge. 

What appliances use 2kWh or less electricity per day?

It is worth noting that most household appliances will use at least 2kWh of electricity per day, or more depending on what’s in use.

For example, a house alarm and a refrigerator running in a property will likely use enough electricity to avoid this charge.

Here’s a list of other everyday appliances that will use an average of two units or more per day.

  • Dishwasher - around 2kWh per load
  • Fridge - roughly 2kWh per day
  • Clothes dryer - 2-4kWh per load

The typical residential energy customer uses 14 units of electricity per day so this charge is generally not something most customers have to worry about. 

Take a look at our guide on which appliances use the most electricity to learn more about how electricity is consumed in your house.

Can I disconnect my electricity supply to avoid the charge?

If you own a property that’s vacant, or that has been unoccupied for a long time you could consider having the ESB disconnect your electricity supply.

It’s worth noting however that there is both a disconnection and reconnection charge each time you either disconnect or reconnect your supply. 

A typical disconnection and reconnection can cost well over €200.

Consider switching supplier

If you’re an Electric Ireland customer and don’t like the idea of a standing charge for low usage, why not consider switching your electricity supplier?

At bonkers.ie, you can quickly switch energy suppliers with our easy-to-use energy comparison tool, which compares deals across all of Ireland's energy suppliers.

Before switching, it may be useful to take a look at the following guides to ensure that you’re making an informed decision:

Get in touch

If you have any questions about switching energy providers, feel free to get in touch with us. We’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.