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Northern Ireland Electricity bills expected to increase

Northern Ireland’s beleaguered consumers have been warned to expect a significant rise in their electricity bills.

Increases in power prices were expected later this year as a result of rising energy costs and a massive grid upgrade.

However, it has now emerged that NIE has a huge pension deficit of around £40m, which it aims to recover from its customers. The company has asked the Utility Regulator to allow the money to be recouped over the next five to 15 years, according to reports.

These details are contained in NIE’s latest five-year spending plan — or price control — which is currently out for consultation.

The Consumer Council expressed concern about customers footing the bill for the pension deficit, saying: “If consumers continue to bear all the risk of these investments there will be no incentive for NIE to act to reduce costs.”

A spokesman for NIE said that British utility companies could pass on pension costs.

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