Switching Electricity and Gas Suppliers in Northern Ireland 

Frequently Asked Questions

Any questions about comparing and switching to a better deal? See our list of FAQ’s for all the information you need to know when searching out a better energy deal.

How to compare deals and switch?

Although it may seem confusing comparing energy tariffs and switching is straightforward, especially if you use Power to Switch.

By switching you could save money, get a better service or get additional services and products not offered by your existing supplier. Power to Switch has information on all available tariffs, discounts, incentives and payment options for each energy supplier. This makes choosing the best deal easy.

Its not always about the cheapest deal but the best deal for you. Although any saving will be a key factor it is worth thinking over other points to make sure its the right deal for you:

  • Payment options (how you want to pay for example Direct Debit, on receipt of bill or maybe pre-payment?)
  • Some tariffs may have a contract (e.g. 1 year) which could attract a fee if you decide to leave early.
  • How does the supplier rate in terms of customer service
  • Are there any introductory discounts or reward schemes for new customers.
  • Is there any innovative products for example apps, online account management
  • Does the company provide any support, for example with energy efficiency measures or help with vulnerable consumers

If you haven’t switched or its been a while you will save money by switching.

By switching energy providers you could save up €475 on your home energy bills every year.

How much you can save by switching energy suppliers depends on a number of factors. These include how much energy you use, how you want to pay your bill and the type of tariff you want to sign up for. To find out exactly how much you can save by switching supplier, enter your details into Power to Switch and we’ll calculate the savings for you. Click Compare Now to start

Comparing all the deals available with Power to Switch takes less than five minutes.

All you need is a few basic details in terms of who your current supplier is, your current payment method and tariff, how much energy you use or how much you spend on energy. Details of your current energy usage (or spend) will be included on your bill.

If you don’t have details on your current usage to hand you can choose from average consumptions levels for both electricity and gas).

If you want to compare the cost of home heating oil against the cost of gas all you need to provide is how much oil you use or how much you spend on oil over a month, quarter or year. Power to Switch will do the rest and provide an estimate of the difference between the two fuels.

How does the switching process work

There will be no interruption to your supply because you switch. There will be no changes to your meter, wiring, pipe work or connection.

Changing your energy supplier will not affect the safety or reliability of your  supply or how quickly your power is restored if there is a power cut. 

The process of switching energy suppliers is very straightforward. It involves the following simple steps.

1. Power to Switch will provide you with details of all the the deals available based on your specific use – all you have to do is decide which energy supplier, price and tariff suits you best. A summary of all the information you need is provided in the results along with details of any introductory offers and additional services.

2. Once you have decided which tariff, payment method and energy supplier provides the best deal for you, simply click on the ‘Complete Switch’ option to complete the switching form. This collects some further information to allow Power to Switch to initiate the switch with your new supplier.

3. Your new energy supplier will contact you shortly after your application to confirm the details and commence the switching process.

There is no need for you to contact your existing gas or electricity supplier. Your new energy supplier will contact your existing energy supplier to arrange the transfer of your gas or electricity supply. The only change you will see is that your gas and electricity bill will come from a different energy supplier.

4. After agreeing to switch gas or electricity supplier you have ten working days ‘cooling off’ period in which you can cancel the switch if you change your mind for any reason.

There is no charge for switching supplier, however some contracts (fixed term deals) could include an exit fee for leaving early. For example if you previously signed up to a one or two year contract there may be a cancellation charge if you leave early but this will be detailed in your terms and conditions.

  • Rent my property – YES
    You can switch your electricity supplier if you’re renting, provided your property has a separate electricity meter and the account is in your name. If in doubt you should contact your landlord first, as they’ll be responsible for the account if you move out. But if you are renting, paying your own energy bills and can find a better deal elsewhere, you have every right to switch.

  • I am moving home – YES

    If you are moving house you should let your current supplier know as soon as possible as to when you have moved out and provide a closing meter reading. Sometimes it is possible to continue your deal with your current supplier in the new property.

    When you move to a new property it’s important to contact your chosen supplier, to let them know and provide them with a meter reading, If you don’t you may end up paying the previous occupant’s electricity or gas bill.

Generally there are no reasons to stop you switching unless your new supplier refuses to supply you or there is debt on your account.

Is there is debt on your account of over €225? If so, your current supplier will notify your new supplier of the debt by placing a debt flag on the account. The new supplier may reject the switch if there is a debt flag. You can avoid this by paying off any arrears owed to your supplier before switching.

If you have debt / arrears under €225 you can still switch supplier – choosing a cheaper tariff can often help you pay off your debt sooner. Your old supplier will tell the new supplier you have outstanding charges and they will decide who you need to pay the debt to after the switch.

A supplier may require a positive credit check and/or security deposit. They may carry over the debt and agree repayments terms with you or install a Pay As you Go Meter that can recover the debt in instalments. They may also require you clear the debt with your current supplier prior to the switch taking place.

How to find details about my meter and current supplier?

The information should be contained on your bill or statement, however if you are unsure you can contact the network operator contact the following:

For electricity contact:
ESB Networks on 1850 372 757 or email them on esbnetworks@esb.ie to find out.

For gas contact:
Gas Networks Ireland on 1850 200 694 or networksinfo@gasnetworks.ie

If you are switching electricity supplier you will need your Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN). To switch gas supplier you will need the Gas Meter Point Reference Number (GPRN). If you are switching to a dual fuel deal you will need both MPRN and GPRN.

These are unique reference numbers that are used to identify your property and should be printed on your bill or statement. You will need these numbers if you wish to change supplier

Billing and Payment Methods

Electricity and gas suppliers must offer domestic customers at least three different payment methods, standard credit payment, direct debit and prepayment (pay as you go card or keypad meters). You can choose which payment method you would like to use, with pay as you go meters installed at no extra cost. Your energy supplier will provide you with more information on your choices.

Direct debit (DD)

  • Payment is the same time and usually the same amount every month or quarter, and can help with budgeting.
  • You may be paying too much or too little if bills if you your bills are based on estimates rather than meter reads
  • You can contact your supplier with regular meter reads to make sure your bills are accurate
  • This option can suit customers with a regular income and you will need a bank/building society account.
  • Suppliers may offer discounts for paying by DD


Pre-payment and pays as you go (PAYG)

  • Using a prepayment meter, means you pay for your gas and electricity as you use it and won’t receive a bill.
  • Helps budget and helps you keep track on what you spend on energy.
  • If credit runs out there is limited emergency credit before supply is disconnected.
  • Making sure you’ve put money aside remembering and remembering to top up and keep your card safe

Other Payment Methods

You can pay suppliers directly once you receive your bill directly by using a number of payment methods such cash, card at your local post office or via pay-point. However, it’s worth remembering that if you are paying directly that you will in most cases be paying a higher rate for your electricity or gas.

You can also choose how you receive your bills, either via a paper bill or online bill. Prepayment customers (PaYG) pay for their energy in advance but will receive an annual statement.

Your supplier must provide information on your bill such as details of your supplier, meter point number (MPRN), tariff name and unit rate,  total charges, information on your energy consumption, fuel mix information (electricity only) and details on your right to complain to your supplier.

To find out more about bills read our guide: Understanding Energy Bills

How are you protected...

Once you have confirmed a switch to a new supplier you have 14 calendar days ‘cooling off’ period in which you can cancel the switch if you change your mind. The new supplier cannot proceed or finalise the switch until this cooling period has passed.

Energy companies must have Codes of Practice in place. These let customers know what levels of service they can expect and how to make a complaint. The codes will be available on the respective company’s websites or you can request a copy directly from the company.

These codes of practice must cover the following areas:

Payment of bills

  • Provide information on consumers in difficulties to help them reduce their bills.
  • Make arrangements to enable consumers in difficulties to pay any debt accrued in instalments.
  • Provide for consumers who have failed to comply with the instalment arrangements a prepayment meter.
  • Take all reasonable steps to avoid cutting off the supply of consumers in difficulties unless a prepayment meter has already been installed.

Provision of Services for persons who are of Pensionable Age or Disabled or Chronically Sick

  • Provide free of charge special controls and adaptor for appliances and meter, reposition meters, password identification system, sends bills to nominated person, read meter quarterly and inform consumer.
  • Promote and maintain critical and customer care registers listing all customers who are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick.
  • Make available facilities to assist vulnerable visually or hearing impaired customer to enquire or complain about a bill.
  • No disconnection of vulnerable consumers from October to March.
  • Take all reasonable steps to ascertain vulnerability of householders before taking any steps to cut off the supply.

Efficient use of electricity

  • Make available and provide information on heating systems and controls to make efficient use of electricity and gas.
  • Provide sources where consumers can obtain additional information or assistance about measures to improve their energy efficiency.

Complaints Handling Procedure

  • Establish and operate Complaints Procedure that is accessible and transparent, simple and inexpensive.
  • Specify the period, no longer than three months, within which it is intended to process and resolve complaints.
  • Provide for a system of making a reimbursement or when appropriate, compensation payments to complainants.

Services for Prepayment Meter Customers

  • Provide instructions for the operation of the prepayment meter, details of advantages and disadvantages.
  • Provide information about the procedures for removing or resetting the prepayment meter.

Guaranteed Standards of Service

Energy companies have guaranteed standards of service which let customers know how they should perform in the event of a complaint or network problems and include payments to customers should they fail to meet them. There are some exceptions to the guaranteed standards and the company may not have to make a compensation payment in all instances.

All energy suppliers in Ireland have a ‘Special Services Register’ which ensures priority and vulnerable customers can access additional support that they may need.

‘Special Service Registers’ are there to help vulnerable customers who may be elderly, visually impaired, hearing impaired, have a long term medical condition, are chronically sick or for some other reason are deemed vulnerable.

Each energy supplier has a Code of Practice regarding vulnerable customers, and different ways to register. Signing up is free and its often easiest to register when you sign-up.

Priority customers are those who may be at risk due to an interruption of their electricity or gas supply because they rely on life-supporting equipment for day to day care. This could include oxygen concentrators, electric chairlift, home dialysis or even vital medicines that require refrigeration.

Details of customers who register with the ‘Priority Services Register’ will be sent by their energy supplier to either ESB Networks or Gas Networks Ireland for inclusion on the industry register. This will mean that customers who are particularly vulnerable from an electricity or gas supply interruption are identified and supported. So, for example, a few of the support measures in place include…

  • Disconnection: ESB Networks or Gas Networks Ireland will not disconnect your supply during winter months (1st November to 31st March), unless for safety reasons.
  • Disruption: You will be contacted in advance of any planned outage or disruption to supply.
  • Reconnection If there is an outage of failure in supply you will be dealt with as a priority for reconnection.

Estimated energy use and kWh

If you don’t have a recent energy bill to hand, or don’t know how much you use or spend on energy you can still compare energy tariffs with ‘Power to Switch’ based on typical energy consumption for your type of household.

Off course different houses, different families and different lifestyles all will mean we use different amounts of electricity and gas. So its always more accurate to use your actual consumption (from a bill/statement) or the amount spent over the year.

But if these are not available you can use ‘typical domestic consumption values’ which reflect the average amount of electricity and gas used over a year.

Typical Domestic Consumption Values

The ‘typical domestic annual consumption’ for a gas consumer is 11,000 kWh per year

The ‘typical domestic annual consumption’ for an electricity consumer is 4,200 kWh per year

What is a Kilowatt hour (kWh)?

A kilowatt hour (kWh) is a unit used to measure the amount of electricity or gas you use.
A kWh or kilowatt-hour is the name given to a unit of energy. It is typically used in gas and electricity bills, to determine how much energy a household has consumed over a period of time. One unit (1kWh) refers to the use of 1000 Watts over one hour. So what does this mean?

Different types of equipment consume varying levels of energy, but to give you an idea 1 kWh represents roughly:

•A full dishwasher or washing machine cycle

•Three hours of watching your favourite series on TV

•Two days on your laptop

•Boiling 10 kettles

•Using your computer for four hours

Using kWh to compare deals.

Each electricity and gas tariff is priced in kWh so this means it is easy to compare across suppliers. By entering your current consumption in kWh you will get the most accurate comparison. Once you enter current usage Power to Switch will compare against all other deals and tariffs to provide you with an accurate comparison