The company wants to move the industry away from a preoccupation with switchers...
Electricity and gas costumers are set to be given money back by one of the country's leading utility providers.
Electric Ireland announced plans this morning to apply automatic savings to people's accounts.
Speaking to The Pat Kenny Show, general manager Paul Stapleton said:
"If you pay your bill on time – regardless of how you pay it – you get 4% [off].
"If you pay by direct debit, you'll get a little bit more, if you're e-billing you get a little bit more and if you've electricity and gas, that 4% can go all the way up to 8.5%."
Electric Ireland claims to be the first energy company to make such a move in Ireland, with Stapleton adding:
"Best of all, we're applying these savings automatically to qualifying customers.
"So they don't need to contact us, they can just rest assured they'll get the best long-term value from Electric Ireland."
Offers in the past have chiefly applied to direct debit payers.
Now only customers who opt for the pre-pay model for lifestyle reasons will not be able to avail of these new savings.
While Stapleton noted that the company encourages the sustainability that comes with direct debit, it wants to spread the value:
"For the first time, we're acknowledging that direct debit is a good option for paying but it's not for everybody."
Rewarding existing customers is a "different approach" overall for an industry long preoccupied with luring new energy users from their rivals:
"I think up to now and probably for too long, the market has all been about switching and all about rewarding new customers.
"We've felt a lot of frustration from our customers who don't want to switch; they're very happy with the service they get from Electric Ireland but they didn't feel they were being rewarded.
"We've listened to that and we're changing our approach fundamentally."
Stapleton explained that the "underlying rationale" for this surprise move was to reward loyalty:
"We want to build long-term, enduring relationships with customers...
"The perennial switching has certainly been a feature of the market, and some customers have chosen to switch ever year. But I don't think that's good for any industry and it's certainly not good for the energy sector.
"People have had to haggle... There have been maybe good offers there but they're only there if you look for them."