ESB to offer thousands of €30 vouchers to promote cutting electricity use at peak times 

ESB to offer thousands of €30 vouchers to promote cutting electricity use at peak times 

In the initial pilot period, to run from October to December, customers will be given personalised insights and real-time interventions to try and change their behaviour around energy consumption.

ESB Networks is planning to give thousands of €30 vouchers to customers to incentivise the cutting of electricity usage at peak times.

As the country looks to avoid blackouts and outages this winter, the utility wants to give vouchers to some 60,000 customers who participate in the scheme. That may be doubled to 120,000 gift cards “depending on the uptake and success of the scheme”.

Although it has not specified what form these vouchers may take, ESB Networks said its customer research had shown the cost-of-living crisis was the “number one topic at the forefront of customers’ minds so to encourage participation this financial incentive has to be spendable on […] everyday items”.

The Irish Examiner reported last month on details of the “Beat The Peak” proposals from ESB, which suggested giving financial incentives to customers to reduce their electricity use at peak times.

In its set of proposals, ESB Networks — which finances, builds and maintains the transmission system under the direction of EirGrid — said it wanted to “play [its] part” in supporting consumers’ continuity of supply.

It said “there is a possibility of electricity generation shortages” at the peak 5pm-7pm times this winter. This is particularly the case when sustainable sources such as wind are low.

Domestic customers who take part will be sent direct messages suggesting ways to cut their energy usage. During “peak demand events”, customers will receive notifications advising them of measures to take and receive rewards for taking action.

Pilot period

In the initial pilot period, to run from October to December, customers will be given personalised insights and real-time interventions to try and change their behaviour around energy consumption.

ESBN said to recognise participants on the scheme, it would provide a €30 e-gift card for all opted-in participants, who will have to take action and record what they have done when peak events occur.

“The digital gift card must be accepted by a number of service providers across Ireland and online, and not limited to one shopping centre, one retailer, one website or one particular town or city,” it said. 

“The categories of service providers should at a minimum include (non-exhaustive list) retail, health and fitness, services, motoring, supermarket, fashion, department stores etc.” 

It is set to finalise its options for the vouchers in the coming weeks, before sending them out to customers on the scheme in the near future.

Commenting on the scheme, Daragh Cassidy, head of communications at Bonkers.ie, said most households are on normal meters where they cannot be charged a different price for peak-time usage, so suppliers cannot use price as a way to discourage peak usage among these households.

“So the success of this campaign will hinge on the types of rewards people are offered to move their energy usage to off-peak hours,” he said. 

"Some households will obviously play their part regardless, but many won't unless there is a financial incentive or reward to do so.”

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