TWO electricity suppliers have responded to the entry of a new player by offering big discounts to householders.
It is the first sign of a predicted price war in the residential energy sector.
Both Electric Ireland and Bord Gais have promised new deals for new and returning customers.
The moves come just over a week after the launch of Energia into the domestic electricity and gas market.
Bord Gais said it would have the lowest electricity price in the market as it offers a 10pc discount on the standard electricity price, plus a new rebate of €40 off the bill for those who stay with it for a year.
Customers will have to sign up for electronic billing and to agree to 'level pay' – where the company works out the annual spend and you pay the same amount every month.
The company, which has 300,000 electricity customers, will charge a typical family €1,053 for electricity over a year. This will be the cheapest in the market for electricity.
The Bord Gais move comes just after Electric Ireland introduced discounts of up to 15pc, but the best deals only apply to new customers and returning former customers.
The cost of electricity from Electric Ireland will be €1,058 a year for a typical family.
Both Electric Ireland and Bord Gais are attempting to win back some of the thousands who have left them, and to counter the competitive threat from new player Energia.
Energia is the cheapest for families that take both their electricity and gas from it, but the new offers mean both Bord Gais and Electric Ireland will be cheaper than Energia for electricity only, Simon Moynihan of comparison site Bonkers.ie said.
Mr Moynihan said: "Electric Ireland and Bord Gais have responded strongly to Energia's entry into the household market by launching competitive new electricity deals."
Electric Ireland, which is the retailer supplier name for the ESB, is still the biggest electricity supplier in the country with 1.3 million customers.
Both Electric Ireland and Bord Gais increased their electricity prices in the past weeks. This means that those who do not sign up for a discount deal will pay more.
Asked about a discount deal for existing customers, Bord Gais said householders already getting electricity from it can get a 5pc discount if they accept paperless billing. And 150,000 electricity customers have signed up for a scheme that means they get Tesco Clubcard Points, she said.
Energia will cost €1,920 a year for a dual-fuel deal – €217 cheaper than standard rates, and €92 cheaper than the next best offer from Electric Ireland.
Electricity prices have shot up by 25pc in the past three years, with gas prices jumping by 35pc in the same period.