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Pubs of Ulster boss Colin Neill has said Power NI's price hike will have a severe direct impact on its members

Pubs of Ulster boss Colin Neill has said Power NI's price hike will have a severe direct impact on its members

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Pubs of Ulster boss Colin Neill has said Power NI's price hike will have a severe direct impact on its members

Householders, business leaders and consumer watchdogs have reacted with fury to an 18% price hike by Northern Ireland's biggest electricity supplier.

Bills will increase by an average of £90 a year as a result of the Power NI increase, which takes effect from July 1.

Pubs of Ulster, an industry body which represents hundreds of hotels, bars and restaurants, said it would be encouraging members to look elsewhere for electricity.

Chief executive Colin Neill said: "This will have a severe direct impact on our members at a time when they have had to reduce costs and already suffered from a loss in profits.

"A substantial increase of this size is not something that a small business such as a pub can easily deal with or budget for.

"We will be urging our members to move to more competitive electricity suppliers and will be actively working with them to facilitate this switching process immediately."

The price rise will add £1.73 a week to electricity costs for a typical household and will make annual bills to £30 more expensive than the rest of the UK.

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Last autumn Power NI reduced prices by 14%.

Ultility regulator Shane Lynch described the rise as regrettable but said it had been approved after extensive scrutiny. He said customers could help themselves by shopping around for the best deal.

He said: "Northern Ireland consumers have a choice of electricity supplier and I would encourage them to explore the choices available to them.

"We continuously review the components that make up Power NI's tariff, and should wholesale energy or other costs decrease, we will act as soon as possible to ensure that this reduction is reflected in consumer bills."

The Consumer Council has also criticised the price hike and claimed electricity customers could save up to £161 if they switched supplier.

Consumer Council chief executive Antoinette McKeown said: "The Consumer Council hopes to see the other three domestic electricity suppliers maintain their competitive edge by keeping prices as low as possible."

TUV leader Jim Allister described the price hike as savage.


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