Where’s the electricity competition?

In case you didn’t know, way back in February 2005, the Irish electricity market for residential consumers was deregulated. At that time, we were told in an enormous amount of hype that we’d all be able to choose our electricity suppliers – removing our dependence on the ESB.

At that time, I did some research on what the options were for consumers – the original article is available by clicking here.

Back in 2005, there were 6 possible electricity suppliers other than the ESB. At that time, none supplied (or had any plans to supply) residential customers. A couple of months later though, it was reported that Airtricity would be entering the residential market – which they did for a while, backed out for a while more, and re-entered the residential market again in 2007.

As of today, more than 3 years later, Airtricity are still the only competitors to the ESB for residential electricity consumers. The market for alternative suppliers of electricity is still pretty shocking. Of the original 6 possible options, 2 have now been taken over by one company (Scottish & Southern Energy has taken over both Airtricity and CH Power). One other, Direct Independent Energy, seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. The remaining 3 – Bord Gais, ESB Independent Energy, and Energia – still won’t supply electricity to residential customers.

There are now, according to this list from EirGrid, 14 customer supply companies in the electricity market. However, none of the 8 new participants will supply electricity to the residential market – their focus is only on business customers.

So what’s the competition like between Airtricity and the ESB? Well, I’d like to be able to show you the comparative costs – however, that I’m able to find, neither company provides the cost of electricty on their websites. However, back in 2007 when I did the last research, the prices were exactly the same.

Some competition!

Oh, and by the way, you should be thanking the Commission for Energy Regulation – “The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) is the independent body responsible for overseeing the liberalisation of Ireland’s energy sector.”

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