Northern Ireland consumers will have to find an extra £1,300 or more for bills in the coming year, according to research by the Consumer Council.
Its weekly survey has revealed that home heating oil prices in NI are now over £1 per litre – more than double the 10-year average price, and prices have only been higher for one other week this decade.
The Consumer Council’s weekly petrol and diesel price tracker also shows that the average price of diesel and petrol in the region are at an all-time high of 196.0p and 189.3p respectively.
Some forecourts are now selling diesel for more than £2 per litre.
The council’s director of infrastructure and sustainability, Peter McClenaghan said: “Global increases in the price of purchasing and refining the crude oil that makes home heating oil, petrol, and diesel are having a devastating impact in Northern Ireland given we are the most car dependent UK region, our incomes are lower than the UK average, and two thirds of us use home heating oil.
“The combined effect of heating, electricity, and fuel price increases mean the average Northern Ireland consumer will have to find an extra £1,300 or more for bills in the year ahead. This is clearly awful news for many people. We speak to consumers every day who are worried about the winter ahead.”
He added that the £400 energy support package announced by the UK Chancellor will help pensioners, people with disabilities, and those on qualifying benefits, but stressed there is “an express need for clarity if, how, and when the the support package will be made available everyone in Northern Ireland”.
“We know how desperate many people are for that support and we would encourage recipients, if you can, plan for heating your home this winter when deciding how to use the money you receive in July,” Mr McClenaghan continued..
“Regarding fuel prices, the Consumer Council is engaging with the Competition and Markets Authority to ensure Northern Ireland consumers’ interests are represented in their upcoming review of the fuel price market and to share our experience of running the Northern Ireland Fuel Price Checker which the AA believe should be rolled out across the UK.”
Consumers can access information and advice about managing their household bills by visiting www.consumercouncil.org.uk/costofliving.