SSE Airtricity Gas Supply has today announced a 42.7% increase to its regulated tariff for domestic and small business customers in the Greater Belfast and Western gas distribution areas. This will mean that the average domestic gas bill will increase by £373 to £1243 per year from 1 July 2022.
Commenting on the announcement, John French, Chief Executive of the Utility Regulator said:
“In April 2022, the Utility Regulator began a review of SSE Airtricity Gas Supply’s regulated gas tariff. We have now completed our analysis of all of their costs and undertaken a consultation with both the Department for the Economy and the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland. The review process has concluded and we have accepted their submission to increase their regulated tariff by 42.7% from 1 July 2022.
“Following this increase, the gas yearly bill for an SSE Airtricity Gas Supply average domestic credit customer will increase by £373 to £1,243 a year.
“While we regret the scale of this increase, and worry about the impact on households, the number one reason for this increase is the extremely high global wholesale energy costs. As wholesale energy costs makes up around 74% of the average consumer bill, any change will impact the final price customers pay.
“Over the past 12 months, we have seen extreme price increases and volatility. However, wholesale prices have more recently been trending below the extreme peak we saw just before Christmas. Since, unlike in Great Britain and Ireland, we have full visibility on regulated supplier costs, we know that the tariffs these suppliers charge closely reflect their current wholesale cost positions. We are therefore cautiously hopeful that, if there are no further shocks affecting wholesale costs, we will likely see a period of stability in regulated tariffs. Should these tariffs stabilise, it is important to understand that it will be at levels considerably higher than previous normals.
“However, if wholesale costs do begin to reduce, our system of regulation in Northern Ireland allows us to act to make sure that reductions are fully passed to consumers as quickly as possible.
“I understand this is not an easy time for many customers. I welcome the series of measures announced by the Chancellor for the Exchequer, to provide support to those struggling with the impact of high energy bills.
“Help is available if you are struggling with your electricity or gas bill. I would encourage you to contact your energy supplier as soon as possible to discuss the options available to you.”
Further information on the support available to energy customers is available at www.nidirect.gov.uk/covid-19-energy-debt-advice and on the Utility Regulator’s website Energy debt information | Utility Regulator (uregni.gov.uk). The Consumer Council’s website has energy advice for consumers during these difficult times and also provides an independent energy price comparison tool to help consumers save money.
A number of agencies can provide free and independent advice, including Advice NI, Money and Pensions Service and Christians Against Poverty. The NI Energy advice line also offers free comprehensive advice on saving energy in the home and energy efficiency grants.
For further information, please contact Greg Irwin on 07794965911.
Notes to editor
- The Utility Regulator is the independent non-ministerial government department responsible for regulating the electricity and gas industries and water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland.
- This tariff review commenced in April 2022 and covers around 190,000 customers in the Greater Belfast area. The review also covers customers in the Gas to the West area where over 2,500 customers are connected.
- The average domestic credit customer will see their bills increase from £870 per year to £1,243 per year.
- The SSE Airtricity Gas Supply standard tariff will be 19.05% more than the GB price cap. Both have VAT rates of 5%. Ofgem have indicated that the GB price cap will increase by 43% in October, see for instance https://utilityweek.co.uk/brearley-price-cap-on-track-to-rise-to-2800-in-october/ .
- The SSE Airtricity Gas Supply standard tariff will be around the same Bord Gais standard gas tariff in Ireland (at 0.34% more than the Bord Gas tariff). This includes VAT at 13.5% in RoI and 5% in NI. Exchange rate of 0.84 rate used in calculation.
- The Greater Belfast area covers: South, West, East and North Belfast; Carrickfergus; Newtownabbey; Duncrue and Harbour; Lisburn; Carryduff; Castlereagh; Ballygowan; Newtownards; Larne; and North Down.
- Further information on the support available to energy customers is available at www.nidirect.gov.uk/covid-19-energy-debt-advice and within the consumer protection section of the Utility Regulator’s website www.uregni.gov.uk. The Consumer Council’s website has energy advice for consumers during these difficult times and also provides an independent energy price comparison tool to help consumers save money.
- There is also more information on support for natural gas customers from the new www.naturalgasni.com website.
- The briefing paper – see https://tinyurl.com/yucvv825 - is also available.