Northern Ireland consumers 'could save over £1,000' by switching their energy supplier

The Consumer Council is calling on Northern Ireland consumers to consider switching energy supplier to save money on their bills as the reduction to the Energy Price Guarantee scheme (EPG) discount from January 1, 2023 means saving money will become more important.

The EPG scheme, which is run by the UK government, was introduced on November 1, 2022 and lowers the unit costs consumers pay their energy supplier for electricity and gas but that amount is being reduced from 19.9p/kWh to 13.6p/kWh for electricity and from 4.8p/kWh to 3.9p/kWh for gas on January 1, 2023.

Peter McClenaghan, Director of Infrastructure and Sustainability at the Consumer Council said: “The discount the government has been providing on all electricity and gas tariffs has taken some of the financial pressure off consumers, but unfortunately the support is reducing which means the price of some energy bills may go up again depending on who your supplier is.

"As there are big differences in prices between suppliers, we are encouraging consumers to think about switching supplier or tariff.

The Consumer Council says householders could save over £1,000 by switching energy supplier

"Switching will not change the amount of government tariff discount consumers receive and will not prevent them receiving the additional £600 support payment, but it could help them save money. Some households could make savings of over £1,000 by switching from the most expensive electricity and gas tariffs to the cheapest tariffs currently available.”

To take the hassle out of switching, the Consumer Council’s free online Energy Price Comparison Tool lets consumers see all available tariffs from all suppliers in one place. This empowers consumers to check which options give them the best deal for their energy. Consumers electricity and gas supplies won’t be interrupted during the switching process.

Peter continued: “Consumers should know that their exact electricity and gas bills will still depend on how much energy they use – as the scheme is a discount – not a price cap. We also encourage any consumers who are struggling to pay their energy bills or to top-up their meter, to contact their supplier directly for help and support.”

The Consumer Council is currently running its ‘save money and energy campaign’ which sets out support and advice to help households save money on their bills this winter by reducing their energy usage through adopting energy efficiency measures.

The Consumer Council says a typical electricity bill in December 2021 was £610.24 while a typical electricity bill from January 1, 2023 will be £846.72 (based on Power NI standard tariff and average annual usage of 3,200kWh).

In the Greater Belfast area, a typical gas bill in December 2021 was £626.40, while from January 1,2023 it will be £1013.40 (based on SSE Airtricity Gas standard tariff and average annual usage of 12,000kWh).

In Ten Towns area, a typical gas bill in December 2021 was £700.66 and from January 1, 2023 it will be £1,326.72 (based on firmus energy standard tariff and average annual usage of 12,000kWh).

Read More
£600 energy support: how NI customers will receive it and when

The advice and guidance, including an overview of all financial help, grants and schemes that are currently available to consumers is available at www.consumercouncil.org.uk/costofliving/energy.