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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 5 August, 2020
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Bord Gais rejects "anti-competitive" complaint

The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors of Ireland is protesting against what it terms Bord Gais’s “anti competitive and unfair” pricing policies.

Image: Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland

BORD GÁIS HAS rejected claims from the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors of Ireland (APHCI) that it employs “anti-competitive and unfair pricing policies”.

The APHCI says they “are seeing local contractors being forced out of the gas heating market and Irish consumers being charged up to €1,000 more for gas installations” and has written to Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia to highlight their concerns.

Bord Gais said that Bord Gáis Energy’s Home Services entered the boiler installation market in mid 2010, and has built up an approximate market share of 10 per cent.

Bord Gáis Energy operates on a commercial basis and competes in this highly competitive market by offering best in class service and safety standards, as well as unique and innovative interest-free financing options to our customers.
The CER, through the RGI, is responsible for safety and Bord Gáis Energy operates to the very highest standards within the legal framework as set out. The company only engages with RGI compliant installers and has a robust quality audit programme.

It noted that finance is only available to the customer, and that a company called Sierra is the service provider that bills Bord Gáis for the labour costs of installing the boiler.

The APHCI says that under Sierra, independent and local contractors can no longer offer customers access to the Bord Gais billing system.

APHCI Chair Sean Giffney called on Bord Gais chief John Mullins to introduce a finance scheme with immediate effect that would be open to all contractors and would allow for free and fair competition in the market place.

The organisation said it had brought the issue to the attention of the government but has not had any success to date, so has formally written to Minister Almunia.

It will also formally complain to the Competition Authority and is calling on the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture to investigate the issue in Dáil Éireann.

Giffney claimed that:

The gas boiler installation market is worth €71.5m annually and it is now estimated that 60 per cent of this market is being driven onto the black market as people cannot afford Bord Gais’s prices

Electric Ireland and Airtricity also offer similar services to Bord Gáis for the installation of gas at home.

Read: Parts of Bord Gáis and ESB to be sold off to raise €3bn>

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