Utility Regulator welcomes lower electricity bills for domestic and small business consumers

12 February 2015

The Utility Regulator today welcomed the 9.2% decrease in Power NI’s regulated electricity tariffs.

Commenting on the announcement by Power NI, Utility Regulator Chief Executive, Jenny Pyper said:

“The Utility Regulator continues to regulate the prices Power NI can charge to domestic and small business consumers*.  Today’s announcement is one of the biggest decreases to date by any electricity supplier in either the UK or RoI. I am delighted that domestic and small business consumers with Power NI will see their electricity bills fall from 1 April 2015.

“Our decision in January to start the process of reviewing tariffs followed a period of falling wholesale gas costs. This review included a thorough analysis of all the cost elements of the tariff and customers of Power NI can be confident that, due to our regulation of Power NI’s prices, their bills reflect the actual costs of supplying electricity.

“Power NI’s domestic consumers will have amongst the lowest electricity bills in the UK and RoI. Power NI’s small business consumers will typically see a decrease of around £200 a year and while we do not set the prices for large business users, we would expect that those on ‘pass through’ contracts (which rise and fall as wholesale prices move up or down) will have already seen price decreases. This is due to the fall in average Single Electricity Market pool prices, reflecting the drop in wholesale gas prices.

“Consumers should note that Northern Ireland has a competitive electricity market and we always encourage consumers to explore the choices available to them from other suppliers.

“As always, we will continue to monitor wholesale electricity costs in relation to Power NI’s prices.”

This announcement marks the conclusion of a tariff review that is undertaken by the Utility Regulator and Power NI, in consultation with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland.

* Small business consumers under 50 MWh who have price regulated tariffs with Power NI will see this reduction.

ENDS

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.
• The monthly monitoring review between UR and Power NI indicated at mid December that forward gas prices showed that a reduction in electricity prices would be possible before the planned October review.  We issued a statement on 9 January 2015 announcing the review of Power NI’s regulated electricity tariffs.
• During this period a thorough review of all Power NI’s costs, including examining forecast costs, was carried out by the UR and in consultation with DETI, and the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland.
• As Power NI’s profits are fixed, any over recovery (and under recovery) made due to the reduction in wholesale prices is passed on to consumers. This is not the case for non-price regulated suppliers. 
• A review of regulated gas tariffs for Airtricity (for the Greater Belfast area) and firmus (for the Ten Towns area) is ongoing with an announcement planned for late February/early March.