Money saving expert Martin Lewis has warned Northern Ireland will be harder hit than the rest of the UK in the cost-of-living crisis due to how energy prices are regulated.
The Firmus Energy 10 Towns Network has seen two gas price increases this year, with Belfast customers hit with a 37% increase on Tuesday.
There has also been increases across other providers and for electric. Pressures on gas supplies and the war in Ukraine have been blamed.
Mr Lewis said it could be next April before there is a let up in prices.
“The biggest problem in Northern Ireland is it hasn’t had the price cap,” Lewis explained.
“So in England, Scotland and Wales you’ve had a delay in the energy price rise, because there is a lag in what the price cap is set at.
“In Northern Ireland that hasn’t happened and there are many people in Northern Ireland who heat their homes by heating oil which is seeing just astronomical rises and very little you can do about it.
“So I am certainly worried for the situation in Northern Ireland – it’s bad everywhere, but it’s probably a little bit worse there.”
Lewis warned that even if inflation comes down, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see prices return to the level they were – and advices looking at ways to save money.
“Everything that you spend money on, question should I be spending money on it? Do I need to? – Some will be yes, some no. And if you do need to, can I do it cheaper, can I do it better?” he added.
“With work and research and looking at trusted sources there are often ways you can do things cheaper and better and recoup some of the money for the explosion in the cost of living.
“This country needs more help to get people through the cost of living crisis. That isn’t a party political point, it is a humanitarian point.”