SSE Airtricity raises gas prices by 42.7% - The Irish News - The Irish News

SSE Airtricity raises gas prices by 42.7% – The Irish News – The Irish News


SSE Airtricity is increasing gas tariffs in Greater Belfast by 42.7% effective July 1, which means nearly 187,000 homes will have higher bills.

The announcement comes on the same day that a 33% electricity price increase went into effect.

Read more: SSE reports big jump in profits…but bills still go up

The Consumer Council says higher gas prices translate to an increase of £372 a year in the gas bill for households with a credit meter while customers with a prepaid gas meter (PAYG) will see their costs increase by £367 a year, taking the total. The average annual gas bill for a household is over £1,200.

Raymond Gormley, head of energy policy at the Consumer Council, said the price hikes were “shocking but unfortunately not unusual”.

“We know that the biggest challenge for many consumers right now is having enough money for food and energy. Our research shows that fuel poverty in Northern Ireland was 34% in March. This means that even before today’s announcements, it was one in three households She feels her loads have stretched close to the breaking point.”

Mr Gormley called for “significant” financial support to families before winter.

“The Consumer Council is working to protect consumers by encouraging the government to provide financial support before the coming winter, and there is a need to clarify if, how and when the energy support package that the Chancellor has provided is available to people here.”

He added that the Consumer Council has been speaking to SSE Airtricity regarding its billing practice operations, customer communications, and support for vulnerable customers.

“We urge anyone who is struggling to pay their energy bills or top up their meters, to contact the supplier directly for help and support. We also encourage consumers to think of ways they can reduce energy costs through energy efficiency and if possible, try to save money during the summer months to cover energy costs during the coming winter.”

Consumers can contact the Consumer Council for free independent advice by calling Freehpone 0800121 6022 or by emailing contact@consumercouncil.org.uk

Bronach Graham, CCNI’s chief energy policy officer at the Consumer Council, reacts to SSE price hikes

Andrew Greer, general manager of SSE Airtricity (NI) said he knows this is “not the news our customers want to hear”.

“The cost of buying natural gas has been at its highest level in more than a decade, and at times in recent months, it has reached record levels,” he said.

“We encourage any customer experiencing difficulty with energy costs to contact us, and we will work with you to find a solution together.”

The company said it had donated £1m to a local charity to support people struggling with the cost of living.

SSE Airtricity said any customer experiencing payment difficulties should contact the company, which “will work with them to find a solution.”

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said she is barred from doing more to help lower the cost of living due to the continuing lack of a fully-functioning CEO in Stormont.

“I think we have £420m here that we can release today if we have a working CEO, so I think the focus of all the politicians and everyone who was elected a few weeks ago … get ready around the table and fix an executive.

“We know there was an announcement last week by the British chancellor regarding the financial payments that people will come across here, so those who receive certain benefits tested for financial means, disability benefits and those who get tax credits for work will get the payments in two installments, in summer and then another batch in fall.

“We don’t think it’s enough, we think the British government needs to do more, but of course if we had a working CEO here we could unlock the £420m that is there as well.

“I’ve been bidding for this money in order to look at new energy schemes that we can come up with, to look at discretionary support and put in more money to help people in financial crises, but in the absence of an executive it creates an obstacle in terms of freeing up that money.

“I think in the midst of a crisis when people are really struggling, it is our responsibility to get around the executive table, unlock those funds and act in this public emergency to respond to the needs of families and communities.”

Customers who wish to speak to SSE Airtricity can do so by visiting https://www.airtricitygasni.com Or by calling 0345900 5253.

  • The Consumer Council website has a number of free resources including The switch: a guide for home energy users To help consumers be more energy efficient at home
  • Consumers can also obtain free independent advice from the Consumer Council website and by calling it toll free 0800121 6022 or emailing contact@consumercouncil.org.uk

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