We have Irish-style rules for competition
In China they have huge lumbering conglomerates, known as state-owned enterprises, with direct control by the Communist Party. They continue to play a huge role in the Chinese economy. In Ireland, we have our semi-state bodies.
For many years consumers in Ireland have been held hostage by these supposedly commercial companies. Thanks to Ryanair, we now have significant competition in airline travel, and even in bus transport there is a strong element of competition.
Now in the electricity market there is also an element of competition, with at least one competitor offering a 14pc reduced rate off ESB's price.
Since April, however, the ESB is now 'allowed' to offer a 14pc discount on your bill, but the regulator will not allow the company to apply this discount to existing customers automatically. Customers must request the discount.
One way of finding out about it is to decide to switch to a competitor that offers a lower rate, and then you are likely to be contacted by ESB offering you the reduction. This is called competition, Irish-style.
Tirellan Heights, Galway