Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Airtricity Double Savings


Save Money
Save the Planet

It is not too often that one gets the chance to gain two major benefits from a very simple act. The opportunity to do just that presents itself right now - at this very time. In the form of the Airtricity offer, it is possible to make a 13% guaranteed saving over ESB energy prices, while at the same time supporting a company which primarily promotes sustainable energy.

It is true that Bord Gais (the Irish Gas Board) has a similar offer, however, a gas supply company isn’t exactly clued-in in electricity generation, nor is it in the Eco friendly business.

That is why I personally am opting to go with Airtricity and save myself a bundle of money. The other factor driving my decision is that by doing so it would additionally give me the smug feeling that I am doing something for the environment by supporting an Eco friendly company.

The Company

I have been speaking to Peter Lord who is the media officer at Airtricity Ireland. I asked him about the company and how they generate electricity. Irishman Mr Eddie O’Connor founded Airtricity. He later sold the company to Scottish and Southern Energy and made a cool €45 million on the deal!!

Scottish and Southern Energy are bigger by far than ESB and Bord Gais put together. The company is very active in investing in renewable sources. Just do a search on Google news and you will get the picture!

Airtricity derive 79% of their energy from renewable, planet friendly, sources like wind and wave energy. That is in stark contrast to ESB with only a disgraceful 9%, and Bord Gais not a lot better at 16%. Shame on ESB!!!

The Price

Vive la Concurrence” (hope I got it right) - I asked Peter Lord about the price guarantee. The 13% discount on ESB prices will hold good until January of next year. What about after that? Airtricity will always be competitive and offer a discounted price; the level of discount for next year will be decided at a later stage. The way I look at it, it is easy enough to make a change, and if you are unhappy with the price or anything else, it does not take much effort to change over again.

A Worry

As ESB will still be responsible for the maintenance of the supply system, I asked Peter if Airtricity had any direct strategy for handling ESB maintenance or supply issues should they arise.

My question was prompted because I am aware of some telephone customers who switched their accounts to providers other than Eircom have experienced difficulties and delays when having line faults dealt with.

Essentially, I was enquiring if Airtricity was prepared to take direct action if maintenance or supply delays or disputes arose between ESB and domestic customers of Airtricity.

I first asked Peter this question several weeks ago but he was not then able to give me any direct or definitive answer. It was the one area of niggling worry that delayed my switch over to Airtricity.

This morning I received the following statement from Peter:

‘Customer Service is a huge focus of the Airtricity business and we will ensure a seamless customer experience when changing over and right throughout your time as an Airtricity customer.’

The Airtricity statement has a very business-speak sound to it, and, as many of you know, I don’t like corporate jargon too much. However, attempting to translate it into English, it does seem to say, that Airtricity will take an active part in making sure that the customer is well served and kept happy.

I put a straight question to Peter on the phone, if I sign-up to Airtricity then next week my electricity supply fails and ESB drag their feet in sorting the problem – will Airtricity handle the situation and make the calls if necessary? The answer was a definitive YES.

I am happy with that answer. If I got it wrong I would expect a correction from Airtricity.

How Does One Connect?

It took only 20 seconds to get connected to the Airtricity call centre at 1850 258 158. I was pleasantly handled by a young lady who told me that all I need to have in order to make the switch over was,

1. My ESB bill,
2. My bank details in order to set up a standing order, and
3. A current meter reading that I can get from the meter myself.

They will do the rest, and in three weeks my account will be with Airtricity and I will be saving 13% over ESB prices.

My Decision

So I collected my ESB bill, my bank statement, and my meter reading, rang 1850 –258-158 and had the job done in about 4 minutes. In three weeks I will be saving 13% on my electricity and supporting an Eco friendly company. I am suggesting to family and friends that they do the same.


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