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Why do utility companies only bill every two months ?

  • 09-01-2014 6:07pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 5,973 ✭✭✭ OU812


    Does it not make more sense both in terms of functionality & keeping bad debts to a minimum, to bill on a monthly basis ?

    Mobile phone companies do, bin companies do, UPC does, Sky does, it's possible with TV licence, Property tax, why not gas, electricity, phone (eircom) & (eventually) water (motor tax every three months) ?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,604 ✭✭✭✭ ted1


    saves on postage and admin. also they would have to take meter readers more frequently. you can always transfer money to them any time you want and it'll come off your bill.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,973 ✭✭✭ OU812


    Postage & admin isn't a decider in the ones who do, the meter readers don't read every two months as it is (think it's four times a year). Currently pay small amounts weekly, rather than monthly as that's how the income comes in, but it seems like they'd be more on top of things with fewer bad debts if it was a case of monthly


  • Registered Users Posts: 467 ✭✭ lollsangel


    You can get eircom monthly, I think you can request monthly bills for electric as far as i know


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,857 ✭✭✭✭ Alun


    Is it an Irish thing? I ask because I remember when I first moved to Ireland it was one of those things that puzzled me. I'd been used to monthly bills for everything in the other countries I'd lived in.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,233 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    To a degree, it means you can alternate your gas and electricity or phone, with only having to pay one / 1.5 bill per month


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,822 Morf


    Have UPC by monthly DD here.

    E-billed monthly.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,207 ✭✭✭ Rashers72


    Airtricity bill me every month. Read my own meter, submit online, pay by dd.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,651 ✭✭✭ BowWow


    Used to have eircom bi-monthly, but with the change to efibre my bill has changed to monthly.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 987 The Glass Key


    Always seems very strange to me when most UK utility bills are quarterly.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,369 ✭✭✭✭ loyatemu


    Always seems very strange to me when most UK utility bills are quarterly.

    that's even worse. All my utility bills are monthly, I get paid monthly, so that's fine.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,476 ✭✭✭ ardmacha


    The last thing I want is my letter box filling up with even more bills, if I am curious as to how much electricity or gas I am using I can read the meter any time I want.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,594 ✭✭✭ tony1980


    I pay off a few quid on both the gas and electricity every week in the post office. Much handier to do it that way as the bills are always low when they come in then!


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,464 ✭✭✭ munchkin_utd


    It's strange all right.

    I have to say I like the German system, which not unsurprisingly is both logical and consumer friendly.
    For electric you pay a fixed amount per month based on a twelfth of the estimated annual usage, so you are overpaying a little in summer and under paying in winter but it's the same amount all year so easier to budget for. Then at the end the actual reading is taken and you either get a refund or owe them a few euro.
    The water and heating works the same way too so again no big shocks possible.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 987 The Glass Key


    It's strange all right.

    I have to say I like the German system, which not unsurprisingly is both logical and consumer friendly.
    For electric you pay a fixed amount per month based on a twelfth of the estimated annual usage, so you are overpaying a little in summer and under paying in winter but it's the same amount all year so easier to budget for. Then at the end the actual reading is taken and you either get a refund or owe them a few euro.
    The water and heating works the same way too so again no big shocks possible.

    Obviously they are better at estimating than they are here.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,594 ✭✭✭ tony1980


    I think there was and maybe is a system in place to allow you to pay a fixed monthly amount each month based on the last year, don't know the exact details, I remember my brother saying that is what he was doing but he had to ask them about it. I think it was Bord Gais who were doing it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,821 ✭✭✭ donspeekinglesh


    Yeah, Bord Gais were pushing that a while ago, Level Pay I think they call it. Airtricity offer it too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,973 ✭✭✭ OU812


    That Level Pay is a load of crap. They take your previous year's bills add 20% & then average it over 12 payments. Why add 20% ?


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,233 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    OU812 wrote: »
    That Level Pay is a load of crap. They take your previous year's bills add 20% & then average it over 12 payments. Why add 20% ?
    So you don't get a big bill at the end if your usage goes up.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,180 ✭✭✭ hfallada


    Dont forget most of utility companies are/were state owned. Logic and semi-state company dont go in the same sentence.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,170 ✭✭✭✭ Captain Chaos


    Yeah Bord Gais do it and it's a great system,makes the most sense imo.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,394 Sheldons Brain


    hfallada wrote: »
    Dont forget most of utility companies are/were state owned. Logic and semi-state company dont go in the same sentence.

    Where meters are physically distributed, like electricity and gas, it increases costs to have someone go around reading them every month. Perhaps they should have offered monthly bills to people willing to pay this extra cost.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,973 ✭✭✭ OU812


    Victor wrote: »
    So you don't get a big bill at the end if your usage goes up.

    20% is way too much. 10% is barely acceptable. 7.5 % would be the ideal amount. Why give them use of your money?


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,973 ✭✭✭ OU812


    Where meters are physically distributed, like electricity and gas, it increases costs to have someone go around reading them every month. Perhaps they should have offered monthly bills to people willing to pay this extra cost.

    They could give the same schedule . Maybe one more reading at a push. The onus is on the user to ensure its correct anyway


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,075 ✭✭✭ Heroditas


    OU812 wrote: »
    The onus is on the user to ensure its correct anyway

    And that is where it all falls down. When it comes to utility bills and responsibility concerning meters, your average customer just doesn't want to know.
    They'll complain if the bill is too high but they won't do simple things like take a read and submit it themselves.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,291 ✭✭✭✭ Cookie_Monster


    Where meters are physically distributed, like electricity and gas, it increases costs to have someone go around reading them every month. Perhaps they should have offered monthly bills to people willing to pay this extra cost.

    but with the instal of smart meters you are cutting down the read time dramatically for each, in that it's only drive by now rather than get out and read. So perfectly feasible to do monthly once everyone has them.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,050 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    but with the instal of smart meters you are cutting down the read time dramatically for each, in that it's only drive by now rather than get out and read. So perfectly feasible to do monthly once everyone has them.

    My meter is from 1972. Bit of a lengthy replacement cycle they have to be making plans.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,075 ✭✭✭ Heroditas


    but with the instal of smart meters you are cutting down the read time dramatically for each, in that it's only drive by now rather than get out and read. So perfectly feasible to do monthly once everyone has them.

    Not just monthly but if people are on a paperless billing plan and direct debit, there's no reason why they couldn't be billed weekly or even daily.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,033 ✭✭✭ murphym7


    Yeah Bord Gais do it and it's a great system,makes the most sense imo.

    I moved a few months ago from a house with Oil central heating so had no gas account. I rang Bord Gais and they had 3 options for me.

    1) Pay a stupid amount of a deposit and pay per bill
    2) Pay a less stupid amount of a deposit and go Direct debit
    3) Pay an average amount each month throughout the year with no deposit

    Obviously chose option 3, and I am happy out I have to say. A fixed amount taken out each month, no surprises. I might be in deficit for the next bill but will be in credit or break even shortly after that. No big deal at all. Might look into doing the same with electricity if it’s possible.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    ardmacha wrote: »
    if I am curious as to how much electricity or gas I am using I can read the meter any time I want.

    Apart from the fact BGÉ use a completely unexplained time varying conversion factor to go from m^3 to kWh for your gas bill



    When BGÉ first started selling domestic electricity, I asked for the bills for gas and electricity to be in seperate months, but they told me they couldn't /wouldn't


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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,857 ✭✭✭✭ Alun


    Apart from the fact BGÉ use a completely unexplained time varying conversion factor to go from m^3 to kWh for your gas bill
    The calorific value of natural gas varies due to a number of factors such as exactly where it's being sourced, the physical properties of the gas and temperature and pressure. Not a lot they can do about that, it's a 'natural' product and as such is variable in quality.

    Samples are tested regularly by BG Networks, and the various suppliers (BG, Airtricicty, Electric Ireland etc.) all use the same value for the calculation of their bills.

    BGE don't currently seem to include an explanation on their bills but I'm sure they did at one stage. Airtricity do ...

    http://www.airtricity.com/ie/home/help-centre-ie/understanding-your-bill/usage-and-billing-method/what-is-the-conversion-factor-and-why-does-it-change/


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