Best energy plan and payment method on a budget

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3rd November 2023

The best energy plans and payment methods to suit your budget

This article will help you to choose the best energy plan and payment method to suit your priorities and budget. Additionally, check out our energy efficiency tips for ways to reduce energy consumption at home.

Ensure you’re on a plan

If you’re not currently on a plan, your supplier will charge you their default rate per unit or kWh of energy. Being ‘out-of-plan’ and not tied into a contract may seem like a good idea, as you are free to move at any stage. But, with most suppliers, the out-of-contract default rate is the most expensive. By switching to an SSE Airtricity plan, you will benefit from significant discounts compared with default rates.

Check you are benefiting from all available discounts

With SSE Airtricity, you’ll get a discount on your bills if you choose to pay by direct debit. You can also get a discount by signing up to eBilling and receiving your bills online instead of by post.

Consider our new 1-Year Fixed Rate Plan

SSE Airtricity’s 1-Year Fixed-Rate Plan is a new product designed to offer customers more certainty and peace of mind. It’s available for electricity and dual-fuel (electricity and gas) customers for a period of 12 months. What you are ‘fixing’ is the price you pay per unit (or kWh) of energy.

We guarantee you that we won’t change this unit rate over the 12 months of your contract, regardless of what happens in wholesale energy markets. This certainty should make it easier for you to budget and plan your finances.

Before you sign up for a fixed rate plan, you should be aware, however, that energy prices could go up or down over the year ahead, depending on what happens in international markets.

This is comparable to the risk you take if you opt for a fixed-interest-rate mortgage. You forego the possible benefits of rates falling in exchange for the certainty that you won’t face a price increase over the period you have fixed for should prices go up.

As fixed-rate plans are relatively new to the Irish market, you may want to read more about them here.

Spread your costs evenly over the year

Our Fixed Rate Plan is one way to increase certainty for the year ahead. However, it doesn’t mean your energy bills will stay the same throughout the year. What you are fixing is the cost per unit; your bill will also depend on how many units of energy you use. This is likely to be higher in winter and lower in summer.

For additional help planning your finances, you can opt to spread your payments with our Budget Plan. This a free service that helps you avoid large winter payments by allowing you to spread your energy costs for the year across 12 equal monthly payments. It’s available to all our domestic customers, regardless of whether you’re on a fixed or variable rate plan, so long as you pay by direct debit, receive your bills by email and have just one electricity (MPRN) and/or gas (GPRN) meter per account.

Make prepayments off your bill

You can also opt to make prepayments off your bill before it’s issued, using the SSE Airtricity App or by logging into My SSE Airtricity. This can help you budget if you are paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

Use your Tesco ClubCard Vouchers 

If you shop at Tesco and are an SSE Reward member based in RoI, you could use ClubCard vouchers towards your bill. SSE Airtricity and SSE  Reward recently signed a partnership contract with Tesco to offer Tesco ClubCard customers in the ROI exclusive great value offers. Now €10 Tesco Clubcard vouchers give you €20 off your SSE Airtricity energy bill. As an SSE Reward member, you can enjoy a total of €60 applied to your SSE Airtricity energy account per year.

Submit your meter read towards the end of your billing period

Submitting a reading just before the end of your billing period minimises the number of days we need to estimate on your bill. We accept readings up to two days before your bill is due, so the last few days may still appear as an estimated reading.

Avoiding estimated bills means that you don’t pay for more energy than you have used and prevents nasty surprises on future bills. You can sign up for a free, handy reminder when a meter read is due here, and find out how to read your meter and submit your reading here.

If you have a smart electricity meter with Interval (30-minute) Smart Services enabled, you don't need to submit readings as your usage is logged remotely. This is just one of the advantages of being on a smart electricity plan. However, if your meter has Non-Interval (Bi-Monthly) Smart Services enabled, we still recommend that you submit regular meter readings.

Sign up for a smart plan if you have a smart meter

Did you know that if you have a smart meter, you need to sign up for a smart electricity plan for its ‘smart’ capability to be fully activated? An SSE Airtricity smart plan can help with your budgeting by providing a half-hourly breakdown of your electricity use, helping you to identify ways to save energy. Where your smart meter connectivity allows, it will also mean an end to estimated bills.

Some smart plans such as SSE Airtricity’s Smart Night Boost or Smart Weekends also offer cheaper rates for electricity use at off-peak times. These are known as ‘time-of-use’ smart plans. You should be aware, however, that if you sign up for a ‘time-of-use’ smart plan but continue to use most of your electricity during peak hours, you run the risk of paying more for your bills,

That’s why we recommend you start with SSE Airtricity’s Smart Everyday plan, particularly if you are not sure when you use most electricity. You cannot lose by switching from a non-smart, standard 24-hour price plan to Smart Everyday as you will continue to be charged a flat unit rate across all time bands. But you will unlock all the other benefits of smart metering.

Over time, the smart insights you get with your bill should give you a better understanding of whether it’s best to continue with our flat-rate Smart Everyday plan or if you could save more by switching to one of our time-of-use smart plans. You can also use the insights to learn more about your electricity use and spot ways to save!

Get in touch if you are struggling

If you are struggling to pay your energy bills, get in touch with our Customer Services Team. As a member of the Electricity Association of Ireland, SSE Airtricity has signed a voluntary Energy Engage Code to encourage you to communicate with us. This is so we can help you manage your payments, avoid arrears and avoid disconnection.

Even if you have fallen into arrears, there are some things we can help you with, including devising a repayment plan that suits you, adjusting your payment methods and sharing details of experts who can provide advice on managing your debt.

Contact our Customer Service Team on 0818 81 22 20. We’re open Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Looking for more ways to gain more control over your energy bills? Check out our energy efficiency tips for ways to reduce energy use around the home.


3rd November 2023

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