Winter worries after another energy price hike for Northern Ireland consumers

Energy price hikes that came into effect today will impact around half of all households in Northern Ireland, an expert from the Consumer Council has said.

Several price hikes for both elecriticty and gas kicked in on July 1.

Gas prices from SSE Airtricity in the Greater Belfast area went up by 42.7%, while the price charged by Firmus Energy in the same area also rose by 24.5%.

For electricity, Power NI increased its prices by more than a quarter — 27.5% — across Northern Ireland. Click Energy, meanwhile, has also raised its prices by more than a tenth — 11% — for all Northern Ireland customers.

Gas prices in Greater Belfast for both SSE and Firmus customers increased on Friday, while Power NI and Click Energy raised their prices across NI

The director of infrastructure and sustainability at the Northern Ireland Consumer Council, Peter McClenaghan, said many people are concerned about what might lie ahead once the warmer summer months come to an end.

“These increases will impact more than half of Northern Ireland’s households,” he said. “At the Consumer Council we speak to consumers every day who are upset and worried about the winter ahead.”

He continued: “We urge anyone who is struggling to pay their energy bills or to top-up their meter, to contact their supplier directly for help with payment plans for bill pay/direct debit and prepayment meters. We also encourage bill pay consumers to submit your meter reading using your suppliers’ online or automated service to avoid any estimated bills. Also, we would ask consumers to think about ways they can reduce their energy costs through energy efficiency and, if possible, try to save over the summer months to cover energy costs during winter 2022-23.”

Mr McClenaghan added: “The financial support announced by the Chancellor will help pensioners, people with disabilities, and those on qualifying benefits. We know people are desperate for that support and we would ask those who will receive these funds, if you can, plan for heating your home this winter when deciding how to use the money you receive in July.

“There is also an urgent need for clarity on, if, how, and when, the Chancellor’s £400 energy support package will be made available to everyone in Northern Ireland.”

The latest price rises coincide with yet another increase in the average prices for home heating oil, diesel and petrol.

The latest figures from the Consumer Council show that heating oil is retailing for an average of £325.98 for 300 litres. Diesel costs an average of 197.5p per litre and petrol is 189.9p