Power NI set to hike electricity prices again - this time by 27.5%

Power NI is set to put electricity prices up again, by a further 27.5%.

The energy company today announced an increase in prices of 27.5% from 1 July 2022, equivalent to £3.92 a week to a typical household electricity bill.

It will affect over 461,000 households across NI, says the Consumer Council who added that a typical Power NI customer with a credit meter will see their bill rise by around £204 per year, while customers with a prepayment meter will see a yearly increase of about £199.

Power NI said the tariff change has been approved by the Utility Regulator and applies to domestic customers only.

Power NI's tariff increase will take effect from July 1

Raymond Gormley, Head of Energy Policy at the Consumer Council said: “This is Power NI’s second tariff increase this year and its biggest since October 2008. It will impact more than half Northern Ireland’s households, many of whom are already upset, worried, and angry about energy price increases. While consumers get that price increases are happening due to global reasons, that knowledge does not help when it comes to paying their bills.

“With 53% of prepayment electricity consumers telling us they have had to cut back on food purchases to be able to afford a top up, many households are going to need significant financial support in the coming winter.

“At a minimum, this support should include re-running the Department for Communities Energy Payment Support Scheme for a wider group of people and re-establishing the Emergency Fuel Payment Scheme that the Consumer Council worked hard to get off the ground in partnership with the Department, energy companies and Bryson Charitable Group.

“We urge anyone who is struggling to pay their energy bills or to top-up their meter, to contact their supplier directly for help and support. We also encourage consumers to think about ways they can reduce their energy costs through energy efficiency and, importantly, if possible, trying to save over the summer months to cover energy costs during winter 2022-23.

“In the longer term, this situation shows the importance of the Department for the Economy’s Energy Strategy Action Plan, that aims to tackle affordability and move Northern Ireland away from its dependence on fossil fuels.”

“Power NI customers should think about switching payment option or billing method to benefit from its discounted offers to save money on their electricity bills. The Consumer Council’s website has a free independent energy price comparison tool which empowers consumers to compare all tariffs across Northern Ireland in one place.

“Consumers can get in touch with the Consumer Council for free independent advice by calling FREEPHONE 0800 121 6022 or by emailing [email protected]

A spokesperson for the energy firm said: “Power NI is the only price-controlled electricity supplier in Northern Ireland, providing customers with an additional level of safeguarding in that tariffs are adjusted through a regulatory formula with all costs approved by the Utility Regulator.

“The change is entirely due to the sustained unparalleled price increases witnessed in the wholesale energy markets, which have been impacted by ongoing global issues.

Customers can help offset this increase by ensuring they are on the best payment plan for them and registering for Power NI’s online billing, to save up to £60 per year.”

William Steele, Director, Power NI Customer Solutions, said: “We work hard to keep our prices as low as possible and have absorbed costs for as long as we can. Regrettably, geopolitical factors outside our control, have resulted in prolonged high costs in the international wholesale energy markets. Like other suppliers we have no choice but to pay these increased costs, which feed into the price of wholesale electricity and have a knock-on effect on tariffs.

“In these challenging times and with such a volatile market, we held off making this change for as long as possible, with this price change not coming into effect until July 2022. As soon as we see an opportunity to reduce prices, we will do so without delay. For any customers who are worried about paying a bill, please get in contact and we can help you.”

“We value all our customers, and we remain committed to helping those who are being impacted by the cumulative rise in the cost of living. As well as working directly with customers, we will continue to work closely with our charity partners and government, assisting in helping those who are struggling. We have worked with government departments providing financial and operational support to help deliver the emergency response fund to the most vulnerable in our society and we are ready to continue to support any future schemes.”

A spokesperson for the firm said: “Power NI helps customers to save money through a range of discounted payment schemes and services. Customers can reduce the impact of this increase with a discount of 6%, up to £60 a year, on offer to bill paying customers through online billing and monthly direct debit. Pay as you go Keypad customers get uncapped discounts, as well as free electricity when topping up £50 or more using the free Power NI app or via the website. Power NI customers can top up from the comfort of their own home, with our free app, online or by calling our self-service 24/7 telephone service on 03457 455 455. Details of all help can be found on our pricing information page.

“Power NI is also continuing to work with customers and charity partners that are impacted by increasing costs, with financial support to around 60 charity partners and community groups across Northern Ireland. That help has taken the form of Keypad top ups; aid to food banks and help for older people.”

It said a typical bill based on annual consumption of 3,200kWh inc 5% VAT = £944.