Northern Ireland householders have been warned they face hikes of up to £750 in their energy bills this year, it can be revealed.
The grim prediction comes from new data by an independent energy comparison tool which tracks electricity, gas and oil prices here.
All local energy suppliers increased their tariffs last year – sometimes on two or three occasions - putting increased pressure on already-stretched household budgets.
Power to Switch has found that Bright Electricity customers who use oil will be hardest hit, with a whopping hike of £750 in annual bills.
Aodhan O’Donnell, director of Power to Switch, said it was a “concerning time for the energy industry and its customers in Northern Ireland”.
“These figures show the stark reality of the 2022 energy market compared to 2021,” he said.
“The average household will have electricity and also gas or oil in their home, so will be affected by both.
“For example, a Bright Electricity customer who uses oil will find £750 per year (£356 increase in electricity and 393.75 for oil) added to their bills.”
He added: “We urge people to make sure that their homes are efficient, they aren’t using any more energy than they have to, and that they are on the cheapest deal for their current energy supply.”
Northern Ireland saw all energy suppliers increase their prices in 2021 - often more than once – and consumers have been warned to brace for more unforgiving hikes during 2022.
With the Power to Switch study, however, householders can actually see how much more we are paying now than we did at the beginning of last year.
The research has identified the average estimated increase in annual cost for each of the suppliers for electricity, gas and heating oil, so that this information is easily accessible and can be used by consumers.
According to the data on electricity suppliers, for example, customers of Bright Energy have been subject to prices increase of almost 60% - working out at around a £356 annual cost increase. That figure is even higher for those who have combination plans, such as electricity and heating oil.
Budget Energy offers householders the biggest price hike of all when it comes to suppliers in the local market, with a massive 65.8% increase in the cost of electricity that will add £452 to annual bills.
Click Energy has put electricity prices up 43%, adding an extra £286 to yearly bills, while Power NI has increased them by 28.3%, or £171 annually.
Electric Ireland customers face a 27% hike, or £170 yearly rise, while those using SSE Airtricity are subject to an increase of 22.6%, or £142.
Firmus gas users in the Ten Towns network – including Antrim, Armagh, Ballymena, Coleraine and Londonderry – face a 91% price increase, with annual bills estimated to rise by £529.
In greater Belfast, Firmus gas consumers are subject to a 68.6% hike, adding £399 a year to bills, while those supplied by SSE Airtricty will see prices up by 31%, meaning an extra £157 a year.
Meanwhile, the cost of home heating oil has risen from 32.2 pence per litre in January 2021 to 49.7ppl in December 2021.
That means an annual hike of almost £400 (or 54%) for householders whose average bills have gone up from £724.50 at the start of last year to £1118.25 in December.
Power to Switch is an independent energy comparison tool, based in Northern Ireland and the Republic, which aims to match customers with cheaper deals and bigger savings.