Dublin, Ireland — (METERING.COM) — September 10, 2007 – Customers of utility Electricity Supply Board (ESB) in Ireland are expecting to pay less for their electricity come November 1. The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) will announce a reduction of 6 per cent in the cost of the electricity ESB supplies to over 1.8 million customers.
The drop could have been as much as 10 per cent, however, according to ESB, but the utility is not allowed to set its own tariffs. In what some see as a law that stifles competition in the energy industry, tariffs are regulated, and the utility is not able to pass on the benefits of the cost-cutting exercise that it has undertaken over the last few years.
Both electricity and gas prices have soared in the U.K. and Europe in the last couple of years, and customers have been hit hard by ever-increasing bills. Many customers have welcomed the ESB’s announcement of lower tariffs, but the utility still has its detractors – particularly those whose bills are estimated because meter readers are unable to gain access to the property to read the meters.
ESB has about 50,000 such customers, who fear that they could be paying more than they should for power. This is because any difference between the estimated and actual consumption is paid for at current rates, not at the rate prevailing at the time the power was consumed. The utility says it has no way of knowing when the units were actually used, but points out that if usage has been over-estimated, it also refunds customers using the prevailing rate. ESB accepts meter readings from customers over the telephone, in an effort to reduce the number of estimated bills.