Utilities (gas, water, electricity, refuse) in Dublin
The first thing expats should know about utilities in Ireland is that there’s no such thing. Gas, water, electricity and refuse are referred to as “the bills”, and an expat will be met with blank stares if they make any mention of “utilities”.
Electricity in Ireland
Until 2009, the Electricity Supply Board was the only electricity company in Ireland. Nowadays, there is competition in the form of SEE Airtricity, which also operates as a gas company, and several others.
Standard voltage in Ireland is 230V AC, and the cost of electricity is relatively high. Costs are based on the amount of units used and the time of day, so night-time rates are usually lower than daytime costs. The cost of heating in the winter time also adds up.
Expats who are renting property should check with their landlords, as they will probably have a preference or be able to give advice.
Gas in Ireland
Gas is commonly used for cooking and heating in Ireland. Rates are often cheaper than electricity, but it is not always available. Ervia, which was known as Bord Gáis until 2014, is a partially state-owned company and is the main supplier of water and gas in Ireland.
Waste removal in Ireland
“Garbage” and “refuse” are not widely used terms. This service is simply known as “the rubbish” or “the bins”. Charges vary greatly from area to area. Most houses or apartment buildings operate with a system of coloured bins – green bags or wheelie bins for recycling, brown wheelie bins for food waste, and black wheelie bins for other rubbish. Batteries and ink cartridges can be recycled at designated spots around Dublin or in stationery shops like Easons.
In some parts of Dublin you can buy tags to mark different weights of rubbish to be taken away; this is useful for people who recycle a lot of their waste as you only pay for the non-recyclables. Tags can be bought in local shops. Large standing bins are found in car-parks and other public areas for recycling bottles of all sorts. You can often find clothes bins next to these – please wash clothes before putting in these bins.
Water in Ireland
Paying for water in Ireland has been a sensitive issue for some time. Until December 2009, charges were only applied to commercial buildings. In 2014, the responsibility of supplying water to businesses and homes shifted from local authorities to Irish Water, the national water services. Households will be billed by the new authority from 2015.