Opening Bell: ESB plans 'time of use' tariffs, Tesla is coming to Ireland, more new jobs for Limerick

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The ESB is preparing to adjust its charges according to the time of day.

The utility has said 'time of use' tariffs will be part of its smart metering programme and are due to be rolled out within the next two years.

Under the scheme, households will be encouraged to use power at non-peak times to ease pressure on the national grid, with company trials also showing that people save money on their bills when they're told about cheaper periods.

Paul Mulvaney, the ESB's director of innovation, told the Irish Independent:

"The idea is that you encourage people to use less energy and greener energy and flex demand so as to be easiest on the system

"If you can get people to shift their load to night time, it's easier on the grid. We carried out trials and found that when people knew there were cheaper tariff periods, they saved 4% to 5% on their bills."

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Tesla Motors is set to open a store in Ireland next year, along with rolling out supercharging stations in the country.

The Irish Times reports that the store is likely to be located in Dublin, with four stations set up in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast, allowing fast and free recharging for owners of Tesla's electric cars.

Plugging into one of the stations for 30 minutes will power a Tesla for a range of over 270km; its current fleet can travel up to 613km when fully charged.

Tesla Motors' director of Nordic sales, Peter Bardenfleth-Hansen, told the Irish Times that the store's opening "will happen simultaneously with the introduction of the superchargers" and that the entry of Elon Musk's company into the Irish market was "pretty far into the process".

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Coilte is in talks with its commercial lenders as it looks to refinance its €200m debt pile.

Ireland's forestry agency has also tapped the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a near-€100m loan that it believes could save as much as €5m annually over the next five years, according to the Irish Independent.

It marks the first time it has applied to the Luxembourg-based lender.

Coilte has already started cutting costs, with the number of staff at its headquarters falling by 60. With the majority of its sales going to the UK, the weakened sterling is putting pressure on the company.

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Fifty new finance jobs are on the way to Limerick.

ACI Worldwide, which helps bank customers pay electronically, will be making the positions available at its European data centre.

It already employs 100 people at the National Technological Park in Limerick.

The city has seen 700 new jobs announced in the past month alone.