The majority of domestic electricity consumers across the Province are to face higher electricity bills this winter as supplier Power NI announces a 13.8% price rise.
The increase, which takes effect from October 1, equates to a rise of around £1.33 a week for a typical bill, the company said.
The firm, which has close to 60% of the domestic market, blamed the rise on increasing wholesale electricity costs, citing a 30% rise in the cost of gas over the past year.
The increase, which has been agreed by the Utility Regulator, is being driven by rising fuel costs used in electricity generation such as gas, which has increased by 30% in the last year.
Stating that the rise was regrettable, Power NI managing director Stephen McCully said its prices remained lower than five years ago and still significantly below those of main suppliers in GB, the Republic of Ireland and across Europe.
“Putting our prices up is the last thing we want to do, but unfortunately we are at the mercy of fluctuating world fuel prices,” he said.
“Gas, the main fuel used to generate electricity here, has increased significantly by 30% since we last set our prices.
“We’ve worked through a rigorous process with the Utility Regulator and our customers can be sure that although unwelcome, this increase is as low as possible and our prices are still cheaper than they were five years ago.”
Businesses and farms are subject to the same underlying price drivers, but as many are on personalised contracts with either a market tracker or a fixed price deal, Mr McCully said the increase would vary depending on contract type and tariff.
Jenny Pyper, Utility Regulator chief executive, said: “Approving a price increase is always a difficult decision.
“Following this increase, a typical Power NI domestic credit tariff will continue to be around 15% lower than the GB average and around 29% cheaper than the RoI average standard tariff.
“We know that price rises are not welcome, which is why we fully scrutinise every element of the tariff to ensure it reflects the actual cost of supplying electricity to Northern Ireland homes.”
Consumer Council CEO John French said the rise was a fair reflection of the current market as other suppliers had increased rates or prepared to.
“However, we would wish to highlight that households can still make significant savings within the electricity market in Northern Ireland by annually shopping around for the best deal,” he said.