Although there has been an announcement that there is to be a cut in the energy price cap across the UK, it appears that householders in Northern Ireland could still see an increase in their energy bills, which may come as a shock to many.
The Utility Regulatory NI is responsible for setting the maximum prices in NI. As bills are currently being subsidised, to the tune of around £600 for each household here, and this subsidy will be ending in June, it will mean that, even though the price cap will be in place it will not be enough to offset the loss of the subsidy, hence the rise in energy bills. We are still unsure what the tariffs will be for companies from the summer onwards.
For A Short Period Energy Bills Could Be Higher Than In England
Here is what Peter McClenaghan, Director of Infrastructure and Sustainability at the NI Consumer Council, said about this situation, as quoted in a recent article in the Belfast Telegraph
He said that bills “won’t change much and could even go up slightly and that’s to do with the way we’re regulated here”.
“Across this period of this energy crisis bills in Northern Ireland have actually been cheaper and that’s been fantastic for Northern Ireland consumers, but we might see for a short period, a few months, we might actually have prices that are slightly higher than England.
Regulatory System Actually Been Working Well For Consumers
“And that’s unfortunate but I would say on the whole the Northern Ireland regulatory system has actually been working quite well for consumers.
“We’re sure of what the companies profit margins are, so a gas company here, the big regulated gas companies can only make a 2% profit margin, that’s guaranteed. And for the electricity company, Power NI, their margin is capped at 2.2%.
“So the regulator would say that companies here actually make less profits and that’s a good thing for Northern Ireland consumers. But, yes, in the short term we might actually see that we’re sitting with slightly higher prices than across the water.”
At the end of the article he maintained that on average people in NI are a “little less well off” than those in Britain and the Consumer Council said it would be making that point to Westminster to ensure consumers have more protection next winter.
Although Peter McClenaghan maintains the regulatory system is working pretty well for consumers it doesn’t alter the fact that many households will be feeling the pinch once again this summer as energy bills remain high, and maybe even higher.