Gas war hots up with firms slashing prices
DEALS: Bord Gais undercut by up to 20pc in latest offer
THE battle for gas customers is hotting up with Flogas promising to undercut Bord Gais by up to 20pc.
The market leader is to face a new challenge to its dominance with Flogas set to target new customers with a one-off discount.
Flogas says the offer will make it one of the cheapest gas providers in the country, along with energy company Airtricity.
Just two weeks ago Airtricity turned up the pressure on Bord Gais by offering a discount of 20pc on domestic gas supplies. The moves are being welcomed by consumer watchdogs, who say that the gas market is now one area where householders can shop around for a good deal.
However, Dermot Jewell, of the Consumer Association of Ireland, did warn that "consumers will now need to look at all of the offers and take their time to consider them before committing to what are annual contracts with term and conditions applying".
In order to take advantage of the 20pc discount with Flogas, customers must sign up to pay by direct debit.
There are two distinct packages, with an annual charge of €124.85 applying to the overall 20pc discount. This is higher than the Bord Gais standing charge of €68.
The second deal offers a 15pc discount off the unit rate charged by Bord Gais, but requires an annual payment of €68.10.
Even if they don't want to pay that way, the company says the customer will still make a saving of 7pc.
Bord Gais is not allowed to compete with private operators by cutting its gas prices, as it is regarded as dominant in the market.
Flogas said that there are no changeover costs and are guaranteeing that there will be no disruption to gas supply.
Managing director with Flogas, Richard Martin, said: "Typically, the largest gas bills for homes in the winter months are incurred in October to December so residential customers switching to Flogas natural gas are guaranteed one of the cheapest rates in Ireland just when it's needed most."
There has been some criticism of the plan, though, because it excludes existing Flogas customers.
Mr Jewell of the CAI says that it is "more than a little frustrating" that only first-time customers can sign up.
"Let's be clear -- providers have taken too long a time to get to this point of discounting in what has been a seriously overpriced market," he said.
Flogas has committed itself to maintaining the 20pc discount until at least next March.