Airtricity chief Paul Dowling: offering discount to incumbents

Deal of the week

Time to consider switching energy provider again with the entry of Airtricity into the domestic gas market. The company is offering customers a 10% discount on Bord Gáis unit prices and a 13% discount on ESB unit rates for the first year. Certain conditions attach, including agreeing to direct debit. The combined discount works out at 11.5% which is marginally better than the 11% discount you can achieve by signing up for electricity with Bord Gáis and gas with Flogas. There is the added bonus that Airtricity provides greener electricity, with 69% of its energy generated from renewable resources.

Tip of the week

If you are in the market for a job, you might want to give serious consideration to sanitising your online presence. Whether it is ethical or not, a recent survey found that almost half of all recruiters check out applicants online during the hiring process. More importantly, 20% of them have rejected a candidate as a result of something seen online. The top reasons are CVs that don't tally, negative comments made about their current employer or comments that conflict with the business ethos of their prospective employers. Big Brother is watching.

Bad value of the week

Money Talks recently learned a salutary lesson in why it's best to be patient when looking for a phone number rather than resorting to directory enquiries. Under pressure, and having failed to find the number online (the major supermarket in question appeared to be having difficulties with its online shops locator and was unable to help), we resorted to calling directory enquiries and don't we feel foolish now? We got the right number alright, but we also got connected, despite clearly saying no when offered this service. In the end, securing that number cost a ridiculous €1.62. Directory enquiries – proceed with caution.

Recession Rates - Rate increases so far

Biggest hikes: Permanent TSB (1% in total) – increased rates on 24 July 2009 by 0.5% and again on 1 February 2010 by 0.5%

Biggest headlines: Bank of Ireland increased by 0.5% on 9 April 2010, and AIB by 0.5% on 29 March 2010. These were huge headlines because both banks had received massive state bailouts and tax-paying customers were furious.

Most sneaky: EBS – a snap announcement in the late afternoon of the same day that Bank of Ireland increased rates ensured BOI would take all the flak before EBS followed suit. EBS has since debunked the myth of mutuality by charging existing customers different rates to new customers, essentially becoming the same as the banks they claim to be so unlike.