Protest held at Budget Energy as Northern Ireland readies itself for wave of electricity price hikes

Budget Energy customers will pay 27% more for electricity from today, and they're far from the only company putting price up. Next week (1 June), an SSE Airtricty price rise of 33% come into force. It's the second time in just six months these companies have had to raise prices and it affects nearly a quarter of a million customers in Northern Ireland.

For customers it means soaring costs and rising anger.

Protestors made their feelings known on Friday outside of Budget Energy's HQ. The company's latest price rise is coming into force, and customers are counting the costs.

Cancer sufferer Ellen Moore has been unable to heat her home due to the massive energy price increases

Ellen Moore was one of the protesters outside Budget Energy today. She's recovering from throat cancer and dealing now with Leukemia.

She told UTV's Gareth Wilkinson that she can't afford to heat her home, and had to borrow money on Thursday to top-up her Electricity before the price rise came into effect.

"It's a matter of putting on jumpers and dressing gowns for the rest of the day and trying to hold out till night", she said, adding that she is "very angry" at Budget energy's price increase.

Energy suppliers say that they are having to pass on the increased prices that energy producers are charging.

"It's really tough on people" said Raymond Gormley of the Consumer Council, "they've less disposable income, they're getting a hammering with rising energy costs, rising fuel costs, rising food costs.

"Even though it's not technically a recession, it certainly feels like one for consumers here in Northern Ireland."

The Chancellors £15 billion pound give away is designed to help people meet their bills with some of most in need could receive £1,000 or more. And every household in the UK is entitled to a £400 discount on Autumn energy bills.

But we still don't know how or when people in Northern Ireland will get this grant.

Finance Minister Conor Murphy told UTV on Thursday that the DUP's blocking of an Executive "creates problems" with NI receiving and allocating the payment.

The DUP's Sammy Wilson MP however insisted that all households in Northern Ireland will receive the £400 discount, saying that the Chancellor's plan was "UK wide".

As the political disagreement goes on, prices keep spiraling and frustration continues to boil over for Northern Irish consumers.

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