1,000 accounts disconnected by energy firms in June

Just over 1,000 domestic gas or electricity accounts were disconnected during the month of June.

1,000 accounts disconnected by energy firms in June

The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) published data yesterday which shows that a total of 726 domestic electricity accounts were disconnected for non-payment, with 392 gas disconnections.

While Electric Ireland recorded the highest number of electricity disconnections last month, it actually had the lowest rate per 10,000 customers, when its market share is taken in to account.

The company also had the lowest disconnection rate in the domestic gas market.

Bord Gáis Energy topped the gas disconnections table with 293 accounts cut off last month, and also recorded the highest disconnection rate per 10,000 customers.

The commission said June was also the first month that disconnection data for PrePayPower could be reported.

PrePayPower, who say they only disconnect in situations where they suspect a site is vacant based on their own analysis of consumption data, recorded 79 electricity disconnections last month.

Its June disconnection rate of 10.02% was the highest in the domestic electricity market.

It tackled a backlog of vacant sites in the first quarter of the year, which could explain its high rate.

The commission said anecdotal evidence from the suppliers suggests that most of the disconnected properties recorded in June’s figures are vacant.

It published data earlier this year which estimated that 40% of disconnected electricity accounts, and 36% of gas accounts, were linked vacant properties.

ESB Networks and Bord Gáis Éireann are now in the early stage of a new process, introduced in March, by which vacant properties are identified following a site visit by a technician.

The CER said it will review how this process is working over the coming months.

As it worked with the industry on a new code of practice earlier this year, a moratorium on disconnections for a period between January and February 20 was introduced.

Previous figures from the CER show that there were 10,122 electricity and 5,895 gas disconnections through all of 2013 — down significantly on previous years.

The introduction of ‘pay as you go’ meters has played a major role in reducing the numbers.

The CER has urged customers struggling to pay their energy bills to contact their supplier as soon as possible.

“The sooner a concern is raised, the sooner the supplier can offer assistance to you and allow you to manage your bills in a way that suits you better,” a spokesperson said.

The National Consumer Agency and the Money Advice and Budgeting Service also offer financial planning and budgeting advice.

Shut down

Domestic electricity disconnections (June):

-Bord Gáis Energy 199

-Electric Ireland 267

-SSE Airtricity 181

-PrepayPower 79

Domestic gas disconnections (June):

-Bord Gáis Energy 293

-Electric Ireland 25

-SSE Airtricity 53

-Flogas 21

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