Belfast Telegraph

Airtricity's 7.5% price hike hits 200,000 families

By John Mulgrew

SSE Airtricity has announced it is hiking electricity prices by 7.5% this year - hitting the pockets of more than 200,000 households here.

Northern Ireland's second largest energy supplier will up household electricity prices from October 1.

The firm says it is "a result of rises in external costs, including wholesale energy costs, which are affected by global energy markets".

"The price change means a typical household customer will see electricity costs rise by around £2.75 per month or around nine pence per day," it says.

The Consumer Council says the increase is "unwelcome news".

It comes after Power NI revealed it will increase its prices by 5.6%.

David Manning, director of home energy at SSE Airtricity, said: "Having consistently delivered price decreases to our customers in recent years today's decision is not taken lightly and is the result of increasing costs outside of our control.

"Since 2013, we've cut electricity prices three times, reducing the average household bill in that period by over £100.

"At all times we are focused on delivering value and service to our customers and despite this price change, the average SSE Airtricity bill remains £68 cheaper than in 2013."

John French, chief executive of the Consumer Council, said: "With already pressed budgets, this 7.5% increase from SSE Airtricity will be disappointing news for consumers,"

"SSE Airtricity needs to clearly explain to its customers why this increase is higher than Power NI's 5.6% increase, which was scrutinised by the Utility Regulator.

"Our message to consumers is to check if an alternative supplier can offer a better deal. Households may be able to save around £75 per year by switching supplier."

Jenny Pyper, chief executive of the Utility Regulator, said: "While we don't price regulate SSE Airtricity in respect of their electricity tariff, this announcement was expected due to the increase in wholesale energy costs that will have affected all suppliers.

"We have today launched a switching guide providing information on how to switch electricity and gas suppliers.

"Following on from the recent price increases announced, which we understand are never welcome, it is of even more importance that consumers shop around with all the suppliers to explore the options available to them."

Earlier this month, Power NI announced it was increasing prices by 5.6% from October 1, affecting more than half-a-million households here.

Belfast Telegraph

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.