The CRU has reminded electricity and gas customers of their rights and the measures that are in place to protect them during the winter months. The protection measures address billing, disconnections and a supplier code of conduct for dealing with customers who have difficulty paying bills.
ESB Networks and Gas Networks Ireland will put a suspension on all disconnections during the Christmas period and will not carry out disconnection requests from suppliers for domestic customers between 10 December 2020 and 12 January 2021.
Energy Engage Code
Under the supplier led voluntary Energy Engage Code, suppliers will not disconnect a customer who is engaging with them. Suppliers must also provide every opportunity to customers to avoid disconnection and must identify customers at risk of disconnection and encourage them to talk to them as early as possible. Suppliers are also obliged to offer a range of payment options, such as a debt-repayment plan for a customer in arrears.
The CRU is encouraging customers to submit regular meter reads to their suppliers to ensure they are being billed accurately and do not have to pay a catch-up bill. Pay as You Go customers should also, where possible, continue to top up their account to pay down any existing debt to ensure emergency credit is available to them if it is required.
The supplier moratoriums announced in October ended in most cases when the Level 5 measures set out in the Government’s Plan for Living with COVID-19 were lifted. The CRU will continue to closely monitor the levels of customer arrears and the number of disconnections during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Customers can find further information on the customer protection measures on www.cru.ie or by calling our Customer Care Team on 1890 404 404.
Commenting on the announcement, Aoife MacEvilly, Chairperson of the CRU said: “The CRU is continuing to encourage customers to be aware of their rights and the range of measures that are in place to protect customers, and especially vulnerable customers, during this Christmas period and further into the winter months.
While it is important that customers continue to pay their bills as usual to limit the level of debt that may build up, under the Supplier Energy Engage Code no customers should be disconnected due to arrears on their account, once they are engaging with their supplier. In addition to this, no domestic disconnection requests will be undertaken by the gas or electricity network operators from today until 12 January.
The CRU also encourages customers to register with their suppliers if they fall into one of the vulnerable customer categories, such as elderly customers or those who may be dependent on electrically powered assisted living devices.
The CRU will also continue to monitor the debt levels and the potential for increasing customer debt and take further actions if they are required.”