Northern Ireland’s largest energy supplier, Power NI is set to increase its electricity tariff by 27.5% from 1 July 2022, impacting over 461,000 households.
A typical Power NI customer with a credit meter will see their bill rise by around £204 per year, while customers with a prepayment meter will see a yearly increase of about £199.
William Steele, Director, Power NI Customer Solutions, said: “We work hard to keep our prices as low as possible and have absorbed costs for as long as we can.
"Regrettably, geopolitical factors outside our control, have resulted in prolonged high costs in the international wholesale energy markets. Like other suppliers we have no choice but to paym these increased costs, which feed into the price of wholesale electricity and have a knock-on effect on tariffs.
“In these challenging times and with such a volatile market, we held off making this change for as long as possible, with this price change not coming into effect until July 2022. As soon as we see an opportunity to reduce prices, we will do so without delay. For any customers who are worried about paying a bill, please get in contact and we can help you.
“We value all our customers, and we remain committed to helping those who are being impacted by the cumulative rise in the cost of living.
"As well as working directly with customers, we will continue to work closely with our charity partners and government, assisting in helping those who are struggling. We have worked with government departments providing financial and operational support to help deliver the emergency response fund to the most vulnerable in our society and we are ready to continue to support any future schemes.”
Raymond Gormley, Head of Energy Policy at the Consumer Council said: “This is Power NI’s second tariff increase this year and its biggest since October 2008.
"It will impact more than half Northern Ireland’s households, many of whom are already upset, worried, and angry about energy price increases. While consumers get that price increases are happening due to global reasons, that knowledge does not help when it comes to paying their bills.
“With 53% of prepayment electricity consumers telling us they have had to cut back on food purchases to be able to afford a top up, many households are going to need significant financial support in the coming winter.
“At a minimum, this support should include re-running the Department for Communities Energy Payment Support Scheme for a wider group of people and re-establishing the Emergency Fuel Payment Scheme that the Consumer Council worked hard to get off the ground in partnership with the Department, energy companies and Bryson Charitable Group.
“We urge anyone who is struggling to pay their energy bills or to top-up their meter, to contact their supplier directly for help and support. We also encourage consumers to think about ways they can reduce their energy costs through energy efficiency and, importantly, if possible, trying to save over the summer months to cover energy costs during winter 2022-23.
“In the longer term, this situation shows the importance of the Department for the Economy’s Energy Strategy Action Plan, that aims to tackle affordability and move Northern Ireland away from its dependence on fossil fuels.”
Power NI customers should think about switching payment option or billing method to benefit from its discounted offers to save money on their electricity bills. The Consumer Council’s website has a free independent energy price comparison tool which empowers consumers to compare all tariffs across Northern Ireland in one place.
Consumers can get in touch with the Consumer Council for free independent advice by calling FREEPHONE 0800 121 6022 or by emailing email@example.com.