Utility Regulator welcomes Power NI tariff decrease

12 February 2016

‘Continuing fall in wholesale energy costs the number one reason for electricity bill reduction’ says Regulator

Speaking at the launch of the Utility Regulator’s Consumer Protection Strategy, Utility Regulator Chief Executive, Jenny Pyper, welcomed Power NI’s 10.3% decrease in regulated electricity tariffs and said:

“I am delighted that Power NI’s domestic and small business consumers will see their electricity bills fall from 1 April 2016. Today’s announcement means that Power NI’s domestic customers will have amongst the lowest electricity bills in the UK and RoI. It is one of the biggest decreases to date by any electricity supplier in either the UK or RoI and means that domestic customers will have seen their bills fall by around 19% over the last year . Whilst 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.

“The primary reason for the reduction in electricity bills is the continuing fall in international gas prices. Customers of Power NI can be confident that, due to our regulation, costs are thoroughly scrutinised so that their bills reflect the actual costs of supplying electricity to their homes and businesses.

“However, we are not complacent during this unprecedented period of sustained low global wholesale energy prices. Our system of regulation in Northern Ireland allows us to make sure that consumers receive the maximum benefit at this time, but we are also looking ahead. This is where our longer term actions in our new Consumer Protection Strategy, which we’re launching today, have an important role. Wholesale energy costs may have fallen to their lowest levels in five years, but it is likely that a market correction will eventually happen and costs will increase.  We will therefore continue to monitor wholesale costs in relation to Power NI’s prices.

“It is also worth noting that Northern Ireland does have a competitive electricity market with six suppliers and we always encourage consumers to shop around and explore the choices available to them from other suppliers.”

This tariff announcement marks the conclusion of a review 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.

Speaking about the Utility Regulator’s Consumer Protection Strategy, Jenny said:

“Our Consumer Protection Strategy will provide an additional layer of protection and ensure that there is a more consumer friendly energy market that works equally well for both consumers and the industry. This five-year project is aimed at making consumers more empowered and more aware of their rights and responsibilities, as well as putting in place new protections for households, such as a new Code of practice on energy bills and revised Critical Care registers.”

For further information, please contact Adele Boyle on 028 9031 6664 or 07787 279584.