€80m rebranding cost for ESB and Bord Gais 'crazy'
THE potential €80m bill for rebranding ESB and Bord Gais with new names to meet competition requirements in a deregulated market was slated as "crazy" at the Oireachtas Committee on Communications and Energy yesterday.
Bord Gais chief executive John Mullins said that an external consultant had estimated their costs at €20m for the rebranding process and another €20m to promote brand awareness, similar to the massive costs incurred by Hibernian's name change to Aviva.
However, he noted that while the Commission for Energy Regulation had deemed this a necessary step in Ireland to remove an unfair competitive advantage from former state monopolies, in the UK it had been able to open up its market without rebranding, as witnessed by the fact that British Gas hadn't changed its name.
The ESB would try to minimise the costs of rebranding, executive director Brid Horan said.
Labour TD Liz McManus said it would be "a crazy plan" to impose such extra costs at a time when thousands of customers were being disconnected.