COVID-19 CRU Customer Protection Measures

Following the recent activation of Level 5 measures as set out in the Government’s Plan for Living with COVID-19, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has put in place a moratorium on all disconnections of domestic customers to take effect from 24 October 2020 until 1 December 2020.

Under the Energy Engage Code, domestic customers who are engaging with their suppliers regarding the management of debt, for example by agreeing a debt-repayment plan, should not be disconnected.

During the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CRU took a number of measures to protect domestic customer including:

  • increasing the emergency credit for gas prepayment meters from €10 to €100.

Following the further easing of Government restrictions from 29 June, the CRU took the decision to normalise the level of emergency credit for Pay As You Go (PAYG) gas customers from €100 to the standard €10.

The CRU had put in place this measure to assist prepayment meter gas customers during the Government Covid-19 restrictions remain connected to their gas supply who may have been unable able to reach a retail outlet to purchase credit.

The decision to return to the standard credit level was taken to protect consumers from accumulating greater emergency credit debt when there is a less of a requirement for this level of credit.

COVID-19 Difficulty Paying Your Energy Bill

In the event that you are facing difficulty paying your electricity or gas bill, you should contact your supplier and seek to come to agreement on a payment plan. The CRU require suppliers to have trained staff in place, who will deal with your case sympathetically. Suppliers must arrange practical payment plans to assist domestic customers who have built up arrears. Any repayment arrangements must take into account the customer’s circumstances and must be reasonable and affordable.

PAYG - Gas

I am a Pay-As-You-Go gas customer how do I top up my meter?

  • You can purchase gas credit in your local shop or post office.

Please review this short clip which provides instructions on how to top up your meter.

What if I am unable to get to the shops to purchase credit for my gas meter?

  • Customers with gas prepayment (PAYG) meters cannot top up remotely (online or over the phone).

The following video should provide you with guidance on accessing emergency credit

I cannot afford to top up my gas meter, what should I do?

  • To update the emergency credit on a gas prepayment meter, customers must initially bring the gas pre-payment card to a shop and complete a vend for this update to apply. This can be registered as a “zero value” during the process and the emergency credit on the card should then be automatically topped up.
  • Agencies such as MABS or the Department of Employment and Social Affairs may be able to assist.

MABS Helpline: 0761 07 2000

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9am until 8pm

PAYG - Electricity

I am a Pay-As-You-Go electricity customer how do I top up my meter?

  • You can purchase electricity credit in your local shop, post office, online or over the phone.

I cannot afford to top up my electricity meter, what should I do?

  • If the credit on your meter runs low, you will be offered €10 emergency credit. The €10 will then be deducted automatically from your next top-up amount. Please note: It is best to only use emergency credit when you really need it as you will need to pay it all back before you can use it again. If electricity customers use all their emergency credit, they will need to top up by at least €15 to use it again.

Agencies such as MABS or the Department of Employment and Social Affairs may be able to assist you.

MABS Helpline: 0761 07 2000

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9am until 8pm

COVID-19 Energy Savings Tips

A lot of us are in our homes for longer periods than usual at the moment. With this in mind, here are lots of ways to make your home more energy efficient and comfortable. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) are the leading organisation in Ireland on sustainable energy thinking, research, understanding, and analysis. They provide a range of useful information on how to save energy and reduce your bills.

We’ve taken some of the key information that SEAI have for energy customers to inform you on how to make simple changes that will help you reduce the amount of energy you use.

Below are some of the SEAI’s tips on how to reduce your energy consumption and lower your energy bills.

Heating

Turn the thermostat for your living areas down to 20°C. The temperature in hallways and bedrooms should be cooler, ideally between 15-18°C.

Radiators

Use the radiator valve to turn the temperature down or off in rooms that you do not use a lot.

Hot water

Set your hot water thermostat to between 60-65°C, to make sure that you do not overheat your water.

Appliances

Most of the energy used by a dishwasher and washing machine is for water heating. Run them on a lower temperature setting and save on your energy costs. Wash clothes at 30°C if they aren’t particularly dirty.

Fridge freezer

Keep your fridge's temperature at between 2–3°C for the best performance. This keeps your food safe to eat and avoids freezing (and ruining) your fruit and veg. The freezer should be set to -15°C.

Heating timers

Set the times that your heating comes on and off so that it fits with your daily routine.

Smart heating controls

Many homeowners are investing in smarter heating controls. These are often offered by their energy supplier. They control both time and temperature and are easily programmable to your daily and weekly routines all from your smartphone.

Hot water

An immersion timer can be really useful for ensuring you have hot water only when you need it. Then keep that hot water warm with insulation or a lagging jacket on the immersion.

Appliances

Switch off all your appliances at night. You should turn off your computer whenever you are not going to use it for more than an hour.

Devices

Use a power strip which means that at night you can easily unplug your devices at once.

Lighting

Turn off lights when you are leaving a room or when you do not need them.

Cooking

When your food is nearly cooked, turn off the rings/oven and use the built up heat to finish cooking your food.

Windows

Hold off switching on lights in the evening until absolutely necessary.

Layout

Position your furniture so you make the most of natural light.

Light bulbs

Replace failed light bulbs with energy efficient options, in particular LED lights. Select the lowest wattage bulb needed to light the room/area and consider the size of the space and how much natural light the space gets.

Washing machine and dishwasher

Try to use the washing machine and dishwasher at times when there is lower energy demand and avoid turning it on between 7-9 in the morning and 5-7 at night. This may not save you money but will help avoid excessive CO2 emissions from power stations.

Tumble dryer

Tumble dryers are big energy guzzlers so dry clothes on a clothes horse or washing line.

Fridge / Freezer

Don’t leave the fridge door open for too long while getting food. For every 10–20 seconds the door is open it takes 45 minutes for the fridge to cool down to its original temperature.

Don’t put warm or hot food straight into the fridge or freezer. The fridge or freezer has to work extra hard and draw more energy to cool it down. Thawing food in the fridge is better for keeping your food safe to eat and keeps the fridge cool.

Listen to your mother

Close doors between rooms that are heated and unheated to keep the heat in.

Plug draughts

Check windows, keyholes and doors for draughts of cold air and plug them. Unused fireplace? A chimney balloon will keep the draughts out and the heat in.

Curtains

Close curtains to keep heat in, but open them in the morning to let the heat of the sun in.

Showers

A shower typically uses 20% of the energy compared to a full bath, so keep the bath as a treat.

Taps

Don’t leave the hot tap running - you are pouring energy and money down the drain.

See our Temperature tips for reducing your appliance and water heater temperatures.

Oven

Keep your oven door shut and use the space well. Batch cooking saves you time and energy, especially if you have a busy lifestyle.

Hob

Don’t let the heat escape by covering your pots and pans with a lid. The lid keeps the heat in and reduces condensation in the kitchen. Use the right sized hob for your pan - the closer the match, the less energy you use.

Kettle

Don't boil full kettles for one cup of tea, but do make sure you have enough water to cover the element.

COVID-19 CRU Office Arrangements

Following advice issued by the Government of Ireland, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities has requested that staff, where possible, work from home until further notice.

The CRU will continue to operate all of its services and will make every effort to respond to any contacts as soon as possible. Given the circumstances, there may be delays in replying to queries. We request that should you need to contact the CRU, to do so either at:

Email: info@cru.ie or at:

Phone: 01- 400 0800

For energy and water complaints, our Customer Care service continues to be available at customercare@cru.ie or 1890 404 404

COVID-19: Technical Questions and Answers for the Energy Markets

Since March, arising from the ongoing COVID-19 health emergency, the CRU has received a number of technical queries from industry stakeholders in relation to aspects of Ireland’s electricity and gas markets. To deliver transparency, the CRU has published lists showing the various technical queries received and the CRU’s responses

These lists are available here