Cost of living: Northern Ireland introduces energy price increases

The cost of living will be further impacted by the fact that Northern Ireland has already seen an increase in energy prices.

Cost of living: Northern Ireland introduces energy price increases

The cost of living will be further impacted by the fact that Northern Ireland has already seen an increase in energy prices.

Tens of thousands will be paying more for gas and electricity due to the increases, which can add up to PS375 to their annual bills.

Volatility on the global energy markets has caused an increase in energy prices at wholesale levels.

Customers are receiving this information.

These increases, previously announced, include:

Experts believe there are no signs of any downward movement and that higher energy prices could stay with us for some time.

Aodhan O’Donnell, energy comparison site Power to Switch said that compared to last year, the average electricity deal was PS400 to 500, but now it's PS800, so there's a substantial increase there.

"When you look at gas prices, the average deal starting today is around PS1,300," Mr O’Donnell stated.

"This time last years it would have been around PS600. So that's the impact these increase are having on a year to year basis.

"Alongside this, the home heating oil prices have been higher than PS1 per litre for some time.

"People might not feel the full impact of that until July. But as soon as it gets into September, the colder months arrive, we will be seeing people struggling and prices likely to remain high."

BBC News NI interviewed Lee Martin and Caroline Wheeler, both of Enniskillen, in April.

Lee is a victim of a rare genetic disorder that makes it difficult to breathe. Everything in his home - including his bed, toilet, CPat machine, and nebuliser – requires electricity.

Caroline, Caroline's mother, said that the latest rise was increasing the pressure.

She said, "It's frightening to even consider what's down the line."

Lee is on Economy 7 here, and was able to get a little relief when the weather turned nice enough that he could turn off a few heaters.

"But, because he has a lot kidney infections, he needs to keep it up, but to think about what's coming down the line at Christmas and winter if there is a cold snap.

It's already PS100 per week. You can hike it again by using PS20-30.

He will lose his benefits. He is already paying PS103 per week for his care, so he's already in the red, and it's threatening his life.

"Anybody who requires this much equipment to live a normal life should have more."

According to the Consumer Council, it is currently talking with consumers who are worried and upset about winter ahead.

Peter McClenaghan (director of infrastructure and sustainability), said that the price hikes taking effect Friday "will affect more than half of Northern Ireland households".

He said, "We urge anyone struggling to pay their electricity bills or top-up their meters to contact their supplier for assistance with payment plans for billpay / direct debit and/or prepayment meters."

McClenaghan also provided advice on the financial assistance recently announced by Chancellor. It was intended to help pensioners, disabled people, and those who qualify for benefits.

He said, "We know that people are in desperate need of this support."

"There is an urgent need to clarify when, if and how the PS400 energy support package of the Chancellor will be made available to everyone in Northern Ireland,"

Electric Ireland in Ireland announced today that it will raise residential gas bills by 29.2%, and residential electricity bills, by 10.9%, starting next month.

Broadcaster RTE reports this amounts to an average monthly electricity bill of EUR13.71 (PS11.88), and a monthly gas bill of EUR25.96.

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