Electric Ireland is pushing a new range of smart home products to customers in an attempt to boost energy efficiency and reduce waste.
The company is offering two bundles to customers that will allow them to control their heating, lights, appliances and hot water through an app on their smartphone or tablet, both inside and outside the home.
There is a catch: you need a broadband connection, which effectively rules out customers in some rural areas.
The bundles start from €3.99 per month. The Smarter Home Control Bundle includes two smart plugs, which are wifi connected and can be used to control appliances, and a smart home app that allows customers to monitor usage and predict future bills.
The Comfort bundle adds heating control through a Climote home hub or Nest learning thermostat, for €7.99 per month. Immersion control, which allows customers to turn hot water on and off from outside the home, can be added to both bundles for €2.99 per month.
Contracts for the new bundles will run over three years, after which the monthly cost would fall as the price of the hardware would be covered.
Electric Ireland said the bundles had been developed specifically to address Irish consumer needs. It will install products for customers, and also offer upgrades as newer products become available.
"To be a renewable energy society, we have to conserve," said climate change adviser Dr Cara Augustenborg. "We have to get much more intelligent about how we use energy. Part of that is knowledge. With knowledge comes options and opportunity."
Customers with photovoltaic solar panels will also be able to use the app to monitor energy production.
"It's a very emerging market in Ireland, but growing," said construction expert Kevin Moran. He said smart home technology was being added to old homes and incorporated into new builds, and was estimated to become a €75 billion industry by 2022.
Electric Ireland is the latest utility firm to embrace smart home products and offer them as a monthly service to customers. Bord Gáis Energy offers the Hive range of smarthome products, which includes heating controls, smart bulbs, connected plugs, motion sensors and a security camera, to customers for a monthly subscription fee. The Hive products were developed by British Gas.
"We are committed to embracing and implementing the latest technologies in Irish homes and leading the way in residential innovations," said Jim Dollard, executive director at Electric Ireland.