Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Consumer watch: Keeping an eye on your power bill

Power bill David CastilloThe Commission for Energy Regulation has announced that smart meters will be rolled out from 2018, dependent on proof that they will yield savings. The projected cost for the programme is €1bn. Smart meters will replace traditional meters, and will remove the need for meter readings (and bill estimates whenever a meter can’t be read). Consumers will be provided with real time energy consumption information, and will be able to benefit from using electricity at cheaper times, which could result in at least €50 knocked off annual energy bills.

While such smart meters can’t really be compared with smart energy monitors currently on the market, such monitoring products could help you identify periods and items which use high power, and can assist you in changing your behaviour. Energy Saving Products have a wireless monitor for €49.99 – a sensor can be clipped onto your existing meter, which feeds information to the monitor on power usage in kilowatts and Euros, environmental impact, and your average daily usage.

Or you can purchase an Efergy plug in monitor from the Electric Ireland online store to be used on specific appliances to check their energy usage – just plug the appliance into the monitor, and the monitor into a wall socket. This device is €24.95 (if you need more than one, you can save by buying directly from Efergy, with free delivery on purchases over €85).

Airtricity are currently offering a free ‘Climote’ remote heating controller for customers signing up to their latest dual fuel offer via Bonkers.ie (retailing at €399). Bord Gáis Energy offers customers a free iPhone app which allows customers to access their account and to input accurate meter readings, and recently launched an initiative where 100,000 fuel poor households will get wireless digital energy efficient heat controllers free of charge over the next two years (normally €120).

If a smart monitor isn’t on the agenda just yet, Consumerhelp.ie offers a handy guide to using less electricity and decreasing your bill, with advice on using smaller appliances instead of larger ones as much as possible, reducing your heating temperature, insulating your attic or using heavy curtains instead of lighter options.

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