IT'S not just the colder, darker nights that are securing energy's place as the top concern for Northern Ireland's consumers. Energy bills have held the top spot for some considerable time in NI.
Since 2009 the cost of home heating oil has risen by 62%, gas by 38% and electricity prices have increased during the summer by 18%. With household bills increasing despite incomes remaining static or falling, it's no surprise people are struggling.
Across the water, energy prices are rarely far from the news these days, but most NI consumers pay 60% more than the majority of people in GB. One of the main reasons is that most people here use oil rather than gas heating.
The Consumer Council knows there are no quick fixes but is urging consumers to look at the resources we produce which can help keep more money in their pocket.
Twice a week the Consumer Council updates home heating oil as well as petrol and diesel prices to provide tables showing the cheapest, dearest and average prices across Northern Ireland.
Our electricity and gas comparison tables reflect the latest price changes, so that consumers can identify if they could save money by switching supplier.
The average consumer can save up to 18% or £108 per year by switching electricity supplier.
Our latest home heating oil price check shows consumers can save £40 by shopping around for a 500l fill. The Consumer Council encourages shopping around and switching because it puts the consumer in control and forces companies to work harder to keep customers and attract others with better deals and service.
Consumers can do a lot to help themselves by visiting our website and downloading these resources, and our team can provide more information and assist consumers through the process of switching, or investigate if they have a complaint relating to energy.
Consumers can contact the Consumer Council for free copies of our resources, or for assistance in shopping around or switching energy suppliers, on 0800 121 6022, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via facebook or twitter.