Paying your gas bills
When you sign up to a gas supplier, you should get regular and accurate bills. Suppliers must give you a range of options for paying your bills.
Recent increases in energy costs have had a big impact on the cost of living for households. If you are worried about paying your gas bills, help is available. You can contact your energy supplier to explore payment options or contact MABS for help and advice.
New protections to help customers this winter
The CRU is implementing the following customer protection measures for this winter:
- Extended disconnections moratorium: the moratorium (or ban on disconnections) for all domestic customers is extended from 1 December 2022 until 28 February 2023 (increased from 1 month to 3 months). For vulnerable customers, the ban on disconnections is extended from 1 October 2022 until 31 March 2023 (increased from 5 months to 6 months).
- Extended debt repayment periods: to allow you a minimum of 24 months to repay debt (effective 1 November 2022).
- Lower debt repayments on Pay-As-You-Go top-ups: suppliers can deduct a maximum 10% to cover a debt repayment (reduced from 25%). For example, a €20 top-up would have €2 deducted to pay your debt (effective 1 October 2022).
- Financial hardship meter: if you are on a financial hardship meter, your supplier must place you on the cheapest tariff available (effective 1 December 2022).
- Vulnerable customer register: suppliers must actively promote the protections of the vulnerable customers register (effective 1 November 2022).
If you are struggling to pay your bills
Help is available if you are worried about paying your gas bills.
- Make an appointment for free confidential advice with the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS)
- Contact your supplier to discuss payment options
- Contact your local Citizens Information Service
Your gas supply could be cut off if you do not pay your bills. MABS has more advice if you have problems paying your bills.
Alternative payments plans
The supplier can agree to put an alternative payment plan in place for you. Suppliers must help you if you are in genuine financial difficulty. They must make at least 4 attempts to contact you before they disconnect your gas.
There is a ban on disconnections (known as a moratorium) between certain months and you have a minimum of 24 months to repay your debt – see ‘New protections to help customers this winter’ above.
Claiming social welfare
Household Benefits package
If you are over 70, you can get the electricity allowance as part of the Household Benefits package. Some people under 70 may also qualify if they meet certain criteria. The allowance is paid either as a monthly credit on a customer's bill or directly to the customer.
You can get Fuel Allowance if you are getting certain social welfare payments and satisfy the other conditions of the scheme. This year, extra once off payments of Fuel Allowance were paid on top of the normal seasonal allowance that is paid during the winter months.
Additional Needs Payment
The Additional Needs Payment can help you with an expense that you cannot pay from your weekly income. The amount that you can get depends on your circumstances and the type of help you need.
Vulnerable customers who are registered as priority services customers cannot be disconnected.
Elderly vulnerable customers who have problems paying their bills cannot be disconnected during the winter months (October 2022 to March 2023).
The CRU has more information about disconnection and your rights.
Getting a meter reading
Your gas meter measures the amount of gas you use. The readings are used by your supplier to calculate your bill.
A GNI meter reader will call to your property to record the amount of gas used since the meter was last read. This is done 4 times a year. An estimated reading will be used for the other billing periods.
When new meters are installed, they are located in external meter boxes. For older homes, the meter may be inside the home. If the meter reader cannot access the meter, they will leave a card in the mailbox letting you know they were there and asking you to submit your reading. You can also submit your meter reading directly to your supplier. If you do not submit a reading an estimated reading will be used to calculate your next bill.
Meters are the property of Gas Networks Ireland and must not be interfered with in any way. Interference with a meter is against the law and offenders can be prosecuted.
Understanding your bill
It can sometimes be difficult to understand the bill, particularly how the amount you owe is calculated.
You should receive a bill from your gas supplier every 2 months. It must be clearly marked whether the meter read used to calculate your bill amount was:
- A – an actual meter read by GNI
- C – a read submitted by you the customer
- E – an estimated meter reading
Check your bill to make sure that you are not getting too many estimated bills in a row as this could result in a large bill when an actual reading is taken. You can check your meter and submit your own reading at any time to ensure accurate billing. GNI has information on how to submit a meter reading.
CRU has more information about understanding your gas bill.
How to use less energy
You can save on your gas bills by being more energy efficient.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) helps consumers to improve their energy efficiency. Get tips and advice on how to save energy on heating, timers and controls, temperature, hot water and draughts. lighting, hot water, cooking, appliances and draughts. Making small changes to be more energy efficient can help reduce your bills.
Energy efficiency grants
You may be entitled to a grant to upgrade your home energy system and improve the BER rating of your home. This will lower the amount of electricity that you use. There are also grants available for solar panels.