‘Astonishing’ hike of almost 22% in SSE Airtricity gas pricing

SSE Airtricity has announced what one MLA described as an “astonishing” 21.8% price increase for gas customers.

The rise takes effect from October 1 for gas customers across Northern Ireland.

The news will impact almost 180,000 customers in the Greater Belfast area, and around 1,700  in the West network area. The hike means the yearly gas bill of a typical household with a credit meter will rise by about £112 per year. Those customers with a prepayment gas meter (PAYG) will see their typical costs increase by around £110.50 per year.

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Peter McClenaghan, Director of Infrastructure and Sustainability at the Consumer Council said: “This SSE Airtricity increase follows rises in electricity, grocery, and fuel costs and is particularly bad news for consumers in vulnerable situations as it will coincide with the end of the furlough scheme, the removal of the Universal Credit uplift, and the start of winter.”

“We encourage anyone who is struggling with their energy bills to contact their supplier directly for help and information. We also encourage consumers to think about ways they can reduce their energy costs via energy efficiency, switching supplier, or changing billing method.”

The Consumer Council also encourages consumers to shop around for the best deal or switch gas supplier.

Sinn Féin economy spokeswoman Caoimhe Archibald said the hike will hit struggling families. “The sudden hike in gas prices of almost 22% is astonishing,” she added.

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John French, CEO of the Utility Regulator, said SSE submitted a proposal to increase their price in August.

“The costs within this proposal have been fully scrutinised by the Utility Regulator; in consultation with the Department for the Economy and the Consumer Council.

“Following this review, we have approved SSE Airtricity’s proposal, as it reflects their increased costs in purchasing wholesale gas,” he said.

He added that the last year has seen an “unprecedented” increase in the cost of wholesale gas on international markets. SSE said almost 90% of the price comes from transmission, distribution and commodity costs.

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For advice on savings call Consumer Council Freephone 0800 121 6022.


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