Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Northern Ireland energy bills set to remain high

Hinkley Point is first nuclear plant since 1995
Hinkley Point is first nuclear plant since 1995
High cost of electricity continues to be a worry
High cost of electricity continues to be a worry

Northern Ireland's electricity users are unlikely to see bills fall despite plans to establish the first nuclear power station in a generation.

That was the message from the Consumer Council after it emerged that France's EPF Energy will lead a consortium, which includes Chinese investors, to build the new Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset, England.

Ministers have said the deal will help take the UK towards low-carbon power and lower generating costs in future.

But, Kathy Graham, interim director of policy at the Consumer Council, said householders and businesses here would be unaffected.

"The announcement on nuclear energy in Great Britain is unlikely to have an impact on electricity prices here," she said.

"This is because we do not buy electricity directly from Great Britain – we get it from the Irish Single Electricity Market."

An industry source said the establishment of a power station was the first step in developing a secure electricity supply on a sustainable basis.

"It is a necessary step and represents a move towards the development of a long-term energy policy," the source said.

"It will stabilise the market in Britain, increase security of supply and therefore give better stability in prices further down the line."

Ms Graham said the high cost of electricity continues to be a worry.

"The majority of consumers here are paying 60% more on their energy bills than the majority of people in Great Britain," she said.

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