900,000 ESB customers switch for better deal
ESB suffered a big switch off over the past 18 months as 900,000 customers moved to alternative energy providers.
The huge numbers looking for a better deal will make it more difficult for Government to sell off part of the company.
New figures show that pre-tax profit at the electricity company dropped 40pc to €87.7m in the first half of 2011.
The reduction is being blamed on a jump in costs that have more than tripled.
The losses were sustained during the tenure of chief executive Padraig McManus, who left earlier this year with a golden handshake worth €600,000 and a €200,000 a year pension.
The results are likely to lead to calls for ESB bosses to look at the pay of its workers, which far exceeds the national average.
Latest figures suggest an average annual ESB salary, excluding pension contributions, stood of €62,000 at the end of last June.
A spokesman for the ESB said that it has faced stiff competition for its residential business since the market was completely deregulated last year.
He added that customer numbers have now stabilised.