Business

SSE announces 7.8% tariff hike for gas customers

SSE Aitricity has announced a 7.8 hike in its prices effective from next month.

NATURAL gas supplier SSE Aitricity has announced a 7.8 per cent hike in its prices effective from next month.

The tariff increase from April 1 will see the average gas bill for a household rise by £39 a year and will impact on SSE Airtricity's 150,000 home and small business customers, the majority of which are in the greater Belfast area. The change also applies to customers on the Gas to the West network where SSE Airtricity is the commissioning supplier for the new network currently being developed.

SSE has said the change in gas prices is due to a rise in costs outside of its control. These include increases to charges for using gas networks, which affect all suppliers, as well as sustained increases in the cost of wholesale natural gas on global markets.

General manager of SSE Airtricity Gas, Andrew Greer apologised for the price hike.

“We’re sorry we have to announce an increase in our regulated gas prices. This decision is not taken lightly and is driven by rising external costs outside of our control, including cost increases for transporting gas to customers via the networks and continued increases in the global wholesale cost of natural gas.

“We’ve worked hard to help reduce the impact of these external costs, and our customers can be assured that this change has been examined and approved by the Utility Regulator."

Jenny Pyper, the Utility Regulator’s chief executive said are a number of reasons for the unwelcome tariff increase.

"Our regulation requires SSE Airtricity Gas Supply to return to customers any additional revenue (known as over recovery) that they make during the previous tariff period. Last year, this element had the effect of reducing the tariff from what it would otherwise have been. However, as the over recovery is a lot lower this year, it means that there is less of a reduction to be applied. This explains around half of the increase this year.

“The remaining portion of the increase is due to the increase in international energy costs, which make up a significant portion of your bills, and network charges which have also risen in line with inflation."

“This increase will still leave the SSE Airtricity Gas Supply tariff for an average domestic credit customer 24 per cent lower than the Bord Gais standard tariff in the Republic of Ireland and 14 per cent cheaper than the GB average standard tariff. We do however recognise the impact that this increase will have on households and small businesses," she added.

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