ESB Networks read the electricity meters for Electric Ireland and other electricity billing companies. Generally when ESB Networks have access to the meter, they read it four times a year, and they calculate estimates for the other two annual bills. They forward the meter-reading or the estimate to the respective billing company.
Usually if ESB Networks readers are not reading the meter, it is because they do not have access, however if the meter is accessible in this case, we are unable to advise why it has not been read - this query can only be put to ESB Networks themselves.
When a bill is estimated, there is a note on it to advise this, and the telephone number for submitting a meter-reading to correct it. If a bill is under-estimated, it is an under-charge to the customer, and the balance for what was actually consumed does have to be paid later, when the meter is read. The opposite applies also. If a bill is over-estimated, the next time the meter is read for a bill, the difference over-paid by the customer automatically reduces the bill.
When there is a series of under-estimates and a large bill issues after the meter is read, it means that there was a series of under-charges, the remainders of which are all accumulated together. This is correct as the electricity has been consumed.
Credit Control can set up a long-term payment plan for a customer in this situation, on 1850 504 021.
A discount is available to customers who pay by direct debit, and there is the Free Electricity Allowance available to customers who qualify for it. This is organised through the Department of Social Protection, which liaises with the customer's billing company.
Electric Ireland and the other billing companies do not read the meters. ESB Networks do so, and they pass the meter-readings to the respective billing companies (Electric Ireland and ESB Networks operate separately since deregulation in 2011).
Any queries about a meter not being read despite being accessible should be put directly to ESB Networks on 1850 372 757.
We are unable to advise regarding what was said on the phone - we recommend emailing this query to firstname.lastname@example.org confirming which organisation you are contacting Electric Ireland from, the relevant account details, and stating that you are authorised by the account-holder to discuss the account.
We can advise in general however that the way to avail of the best rate is to pay by direct debit. Otherwise the customer is on the standard rate for all customers (this varies depending on when the customer has a day/night meter or 24-hour meter, and whether they are urban or rural based).