Gas prices increase in Northern Ireland for SSE Airtricity customers

Gas prices are to increase by 39% for customers of SSE Airtricity, the company confirmed on Friday.

The price change comes into effect from April 1, 2022 and means a typical household will see an annual increase of £244.

SSE Airtricity said "the continued pressure on global energy markets has a significant impact on energy suppliers’ ability to keep prices down".

In the past year the price of gas has increased from 50p per unit, to £2 today. It reached a high of £4.50 late last year.

The regulator warned of further price rises as this increase did not take into account the pressures on supply due to the Ukraine crisis.

In a statement, the company added: "As seen through other supplier announcements and recent messages from the Utility Regulator, international energy costs are having a direct impact on homes and businesses in Northern Ireland."  It comes as the cost of living has already increased with oil, petrol and electricity prices all surging in recent months.

John French, chief executive of the Utility Regulator said: “The cost of wholesale gas has increased significantly over the last seven months largely due to Russia reducing the supply of natural gas into Europe.

"However, today’s announcement does not take into account the further upward wholesale price pressures we have seen since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

"We will therefore need to keep this tariff under review, as this unfortunate conflict has significantly exacerbated the volatility and price movements within the market. Regrettably, it is highly likely that a further increase to tariffs will be needed at some point."

Andrew Greer, SSE Airtricity general manager said:  “We understand this news will be unwelcome, although not unexpected to our customers, given the extensive media focus on wholesale markets over the last six months.

"The cost of purchasing natural gas on the wholesale market has reached record highs this winter and regrettably, a proportion of this must be reflected in our prices.

"In March 2021 gas cost around 50pence per therm, today that cost is around £2 per therm after hitting as high as £4.50 per therm late last year.

"SSE Airtricity has a longstanding history of working with our customers and we have made every effort to minimise the impact on them.  

“We would encourage any customer who is having difficulty with their energy costs to contact us, and we will work with you to find a solution together.

"There is also free independent help and information available from the Consumer Council and Advice NI who provide a range of impartial services to consumers in Northern Ireland including advice about saving energy.”