Power NI customers will be hit with a 5.6% electricity hike from 1 October, the provider has announced today.
The price rise, which also affects those on pre-payment meters, is the first Power NI increase since 2013. It will see customers pay on average £2 more each month, taking Power NI's standard tariff to £497 a year for an average user.
Power NI is the largest electricity provider in Northern Ireland in a market where there are only four other electricity providers and two gas suppliers. In its latest results for the first quarter of this year, it reported it had 516,000 domestic electricity customers.
Rising electricity production costs have been blamed for the price rise, although Power NI says its prices will still be “significantly below the main suppliers in Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, and across Europe”.
Stephen McCully, managing director of Power NI, says: “So much is dependent upon world fuel costs, which are outside our control and which influence the price we pay for wholesale electricity.
“We have not increased our prices since 2013, so it is particularly disappointing for us that we have to do so now. However, as we could cut our prices over the last four years, a typical Power NI bill will still be roughly £80 less than it was in 2013.”
The price hike has been agreed with Northern Ireland’s independent Utility Regulator.
Jenny Pyper, Utility Regulator chief executive comments: “Agreeing an increase to Power NI’s domestic electricity tariff is not a decision that we take lightly. We carry out extensive scrutiny of Power NI’s costs to ensure that any change to their tariff is justified. Domestic electricity prices in Northern Ireland have not increased in four years, but unfortunately, due to rises in wholesale energy costs, this increase is unavoidable.”
She adds: “Northern Ireland consumers have a choice of five domestic electricity suppliers and I would encourage them to shop around and explore the options available to them.”