Regulator insists it was “not a decision that we take lightly”

Northern Ireland’s leading energy supplier, Power NI, has announced it is increasing prices for the first time in four years.

The company revealed today it is raising prices by 5.6 per cent from 1 October onwards, due to a rise in the cost of producing electricity.

It supplies almost two thirds (60 per cent) of homes in Northern Ireland and said the increase will add just over £2 a month to an average household bill.

Power NI also confirmed customers on the supplier’s SME business and farm tariffs will also see a similar increase, which will add around £2 a week to bills.

“We have not increased out prices since 2013, so it is particularly disappointing for us that we have to do so now,” said managing director, Stephen McCully.

“However, as we were able to cut our prices over the last four years, a typical Power NI bill will still be roughly £80 less than it was in 2013.

“Unfortunately, we cannot avoid this increase, but what we can do, is encourage our customers to take up one of our discount offers, which may help offset it.”

The increase was agreed with Northern Ireland’s Utility Regulator.

The regulator’s chief executive, Jenny Pyper, insisted it was “not a decision that we take lightly”.

“Even after this tariff increase, Northern Ireland will continue to have amongst the lowest domestic electricity prices in the UK and RoI,” said Pyper.

“Power NI’s average annual domestic bill will be around 22 per cent cheaper than the GB average annual bill and around 30 per cent cheaper than the ROI average annual bill.

“We continuously review all the components that make up Power NI’s tariff. Should wholesale energy or other costs decrease, our system of regulation in Northern Ireland allows us to act as soon as possible to ensure that this reduction is reflected in consumer bills.”

The news follows several other high-profile price rise announcements, including one earlier this month by British Gas.

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