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SSE Airtricity is third provider to announce whopping rise to power bills

SSE Airtricity is increasing electricity bills by more than 18 per cent
Gary McDonald Business Editor

MORE than 300,000 electricity and gas customers across the north are facing whopping double-digit price increases from October 1.

It following a price hike by SSE Airtricity, Northern Ireland's largest provider of natural gas and second largest provider of electricity, which it is blaming on wholesale fuel costs and rising networks charges.

SSE is putting up its electricity prices by 18.2 per cent for domestic and small business customers in the Greater Belfast area, while gas bills will rise by 10.9 per cent.

It will add around £86 a year to the average electric bill and cost an extra £56 a year for gas customers.

The changes - which have been approved by the Utility Regulator - will impact 173,272 household electricity customers and 152,220 household and business gas customers.

The SSE announcement comes on the back of the north's largest electricity supplier Power NI announcing a price hike of 13.8 per cent (almost £70 a year) while Electric Ireland is putting its bills up by around £64 a year as a result of its 13 per cent tariff increase.

David Manning, director of home energy at SSE Airtricity, said: “We're disappointed we have to announce increases in our gas and electricity prices at this time.

"Unfortunately this decision is unavoidable due to the sustained increases in wholesale fuel and transportation costs over the last 12 months.

"However, we will continue to focus on providing our customers with the value, outstanding service and low-carbon energy they expect from us, and when we can pass on any future savings, we will.”

Consumer Council chief executive John French said: “SSE Airtricity is the third energy company to announce price increases this month, and as its unregulated electricity increase is higher than the regulated Power NI increase announced previously, it needs to explain this difference to its customers.

“With energy costs a top concern for local households, we would encourage all consumers to take control of their energy bills and to regularly check and compare tariffs to see if they could get a better deal.

"Switching payment, changing billing method or implementing simple energy efficiency measures, can also help save money.”

He added: “SSE Airtricity is currently the only energy supplier in Northern Ireland offering both electricity and natural gas to domestic households.

"However, unlike in GB, they do not offer a single dual fuel product, which usually provides customers with additional discounts. Therefore we would like to see further innovation from all suppliers to help make it more attractive for households to switch.”

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