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Power NI price cut too little too late, say small firms


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A Power NI reduction in bills of 4.8% that will save households up to £30 a year and may benefit businesses has come too late, it has been claimed

A Power NI reduction in bills of 4.8% that will save households up to £30 a year and may benefit businesses has come too late, it has been claimed

A Power NI reduction in bills of 4.8% that will save households up to £30 a year and may benefit businesses has come too late, it has been claimed

A Power NI reduction in bills of 4.8% that will save households up to £30 a year and may benefit businesses has come too late, it has been claimed.

The reduction - of around just 8p per day - has been enabled by a drop in fuel costs and will begin from July onwards.

It is expected that almost half a million households in Northern Ireland will see their bills dip by around £30 annually.

The energy provider said the saving will benefit the local economy with a boost of around £13m as consumers spend the savings elsewhere.

Power NI said the reduction relates to its domestic customers, but businesses and farm customers are also benefiting from the same underlying reduction in generation costs.

But Roger Pollen of the Federation of Small Businesses said it was too little, too late.

"The price cut is less than 5%, despite the wholesale price of oil having fallen by more than 10 times that amount in the past year," he said.

"The reduction is also not going to take effect until the month after next, meaning that higher prices will have persisted throughout the very worst of the economic lockdown. And this announcement is for domestic customers only, with no guarantee that there will be a reduction for business customers.

"Given that the gas companies slashed their prices to consumers by four times this amount, over two months ago, there will be many who look at this cut as being far too little, far too late."

Power NI's managing director Stephen McCully said: "Today's announcement will enable people to either save more of their own money or to spend elsewhere and put this money back into the local economy."

Mr McCully said the price cut will mean Power NI consumers will be paying "significantly less" than households in the Republic, GB and across Europe.

Power NI claimed the price drop will mean Northern Ireland consumers will pay 28% less than households in the Republic, 19% less than consumers in the UK and 9% less than those living in Europe.

The Utility Regulator welcomed the move during "a tough time for many customers".

Chief executive Jenny Pyper said: "There is so much uncertainty at this time and many consumers are concerned about the potential for rising costs.

"In that context this reduction will put money back into their pockets."

She said that even with the price cap in Great Britain, the annual average bill for Power NI will be £571, compared to £704 in GB and £798 in the Republic.

Paulino Garcia, head of energy policy at The Consumer Council, said: "This a really tough time for both households and businesses in Northern Ireland.

"Our research shows that consumers are concerned about rising prices, cash-flow, and how they will make ends meet.

"Therefore, this saving of around £30 per year, although small, will be welcomed by households."

Belfast Telegraph