Energy prices increase in Northern Ireland after drop in government support levels

The increase for customers in Northern Ireland is a result of reduced levels of energy support from the government

Energy price increases are set to come into effect across Northern Ireland from Saturday, despite a reduction in wholesale costs.

The changes are happening as a result of a reduction in the level of energy support from the government.

The Energy Price Guarantee scheme was introduced to protect customers from the full impact of rising bills, however, it's been tweaked to align the level of support available in Northern Ireland with the rest of Great Britain.

To date, customers in Northern Ireland have been receiving a higher level of government support to make up for the fact that it came into effect here a month later than in Great Britain.

The Consumer Council in Northern Ireland said Electric Ireland, Power NI, Budget Energy and Firmus energy have recently announced changes to their tariffs. Peter McClenaghan, Director of Infrastructure and Sustainability, at the Consumer Council explained: "Wholesale energy prices are coming down.

"However, from 1 April, the government is withdrawing the additional Energy Price Guarantee support local consumers have been receiving.

"This means that some consumers' bills will not reduce as much as initially advertised and some bills will increase when the updated Energy Price Guarantee rate is applied. "Consumers should consider what their tariff will be after Saturday 1 April to ensure they are on the best deal for their needs, as money can be saved by switching suppliers, moving between your existing suppliers' tariffs, or changing billing method.

"Consumers on the highest tariffs could save around £600 by switching to the cheapest tariffs in the market."

He added: "The same change is not happening in the rest of the UK.

"This is because we have been receiving a higher level of Government support to make up for the fact that we began receiving assistance a month later.

"From Saturday 1 April Northern Ireland consumers will receive the same level of support as is being provided in GB.

"It is essential consumers are given clarity about the price they will pay for their gas and electricity from April onwards.

"This is particularly important in the current climate, as our research shows most consumers in Northern Ireland are still really worried about home energy prices."