Raft of steep energy hikes take effect from tomorrow
The Consumer Council has urged people to try to cut down on their energy use as eye-watering price hikes from all but one utility firm in the north take effect from tomorrow.
Over the next few days, price increases from the following providers will come into effect: Budget Energy, Click Energy, Electric Ireland, Firmus Energy and SSE Airtricity.
The following price rises take effect tomorrow, Saturday, October 1: Electricity - SSE Airtricity (35.4%); Electric Ireland (29%); Click Energy (28.2%); Gas - SSE Airtricity (28.3%).
On Monday Firmus Energy Gas will hike its prices by 56.3%. And next Friday, October 7, Budget Energy will increase its electricity prices by 32%.
Peter McClenaghan, Director of Infrastructure and Sustainability at the Consumer Council, said: “This week all but one energy company in NI will apply large price increases to domestic consumer bills. These increases will heighten the cost-of-living pressure most NI consumers are already experiencing.
“We welcome the progress announced last week by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on the delivery of the Energy Bill Support Scheme and Energy Price Guarantee.
"However, even under the Price Cap, energy bills will remain hundreds of pounds higher than they have previously been. For those who can, we encourage consumers to try to reduce the energy they are using through adopting energy efficiency measures.
"This is particularly important because the Energy Price Guarantee, when it is implemented, will be a cap on the unit rate of energy; meaning you could still face bills over £2,500 if you use a lot of energy.
"We are acutely aware of the extreme pressures felt across all households, including consumers who use home heating oil. We have been engaging with BEIS and the Northern Ireland Office to represent consumers and outline the challenges heating oil consumers are, and will, face without further support.
“We urge anyone who is struggling to pay their energy bills or to top-up their meters to contact their supplier for support without delay. We also remind people to provide meter-readings to avoid receiving estimated bills, and to check they are on the best tariff and payment method for their needs.