Households in Northern Ireland are facing further price hikes in their energy bills this year.
Looming energy bill hikes are just the latest headache for struggling households, as the rising cost of living has already left customers struggling with everything from filling up the car to weekly purchase.
That’s before another leading energy provider raises prices for thousands of customers starting today.
A further gas bill price hike has come into effect for 47,000 Firmus Energy customers in the greater Belfast area.
The company announced the 37% increase in Aprilmeaning that the annual gas bill for a typical household with a meter on credit will increase by around £330 a year.
Customers with a prepayment gas meter (PAYG) will see their typical costs increase by around £325 per year.
At the same time, a 16.31% increase in its Ten Cities network, announced at the end of Marchwill also affect approximately 55,000 customers as of today.
Firmus blamed global pressures including the war in Ukraine for movement with sustained increases in global wholesale gas prices, but hopes to announce price cuts “as soon as we can”.
Just last week, Northern Ireland’s second largest electricity supplier, SSE Airtricity, announced it was raising customers’ electricity bills by 33%, the “wholesale cost increases of energy” being responsible for the increase.
The Consumers Council said the increase in ESS will mean that people on their ‘standard’ rate for credit meter and keypad meter (PAYG) will see a £248 increase in their bills to just over £1,000 per year.
SSE says the increase will be effective from June 1 “and means a typical customer will see their costs increase by around £0.64 a day”.
The company says it is also providing “additional support to customers who have been affected by the current energy crisis ”.
Budget Energy, Northern Ireland’s fourth-largest electricity supplier, is also expected to raise prices by 27% from May 27.
A typical customer with a credit meter will see their bill increase by around £280 per year, while customers with a keypad (PAYG) meter will see an annual increase of around £275.
Both companies – SSE and Budget Energy – announced power price increases in October 2021, meaning the increase is the second in six months.
These last two increases will affect three out of ten households, or approximately 248,000 domestic customers.
On Tuesday, around 102,000 gas customers in Northern Ireland were hit by another price hike from the region’s biggest supplier, Firmus Energy.
A 16.31% increase is to be imposed from May 3, the company’s fourth increase since last spring.
This will see a typical bill for a household with a credit meter rise by around £211 a year to £1,504.
Customers with a prepaid gas meter will see their costs rise by around £201 a year to £1,432.
It comes after a 33.57% rise in the ten-city tariff by Firmus in February, which would take the average household gas bill to £1,293 a year.
In April 2021, the average bill was £518.
The Ten City Network area includes antrimArmagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Coleraine, Craigavon (including Lurgan and Portadown), Limavady, derry, Newry and more than 25 other towns and villages in the surrounding area.
A similar 37% price increase in the Belfast area for Greater Belfast also comes into effect on Tuesday.
Last November, Firmus announced a 38% increase for the Ten Cities network while prices in the same area had already increased by 35% in October.
Then, in December 2021, the company announced a 19.5% increase in Greater Belfastthree months after announcing a 33% increase.
Meanwhile, SSE Airtricity has raised its natural gas prices for households and businesses 39% since April 1.
The increase affected about 186,000 gas customers and marks the energy company’s biggest gas price hike in its network since May 2011.
This means that the annual gas bill of a typical household with a credit meter has increased by around £244 per year, while those with a prepaid gas meter are seeing their typical costs rise by around £241 per year .
The company also increased its gas prices by 21.8% in October 2021which adds around £112 to the average household bill.
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Electricity providers have also announced price hikes, the latest being Electric Ireland’s which raised prices by 30% from May 1.
Northern Ireland’s third-biggest supplier said the increase would mean a weekly increase of around £4.21 on an average residential electricity bill.
Electric Ireland, which has around 103,000 customers in Northern Ireland, said the move was due to “continued market volatility and the unprecedented rise in wholesale energy costs”.
This is the first rate change announcement this year but the fourth since August 2021.
The company announced a 10% price increase last August, a 3.7% increase in February 2021, and a 13.5% increase in November 2021.
Northern Ireland’s largest energy supplier, Power NI, has raised prices by almost 22% for its domestic electricity customers.
Lack of wind over the past summer has also been cited as a contributing factor, with falling rates of renewable electricity generation leading to greater reliance on fossil fuel power plants.
The 21.4% increase, which adds £2.51 to a household’s average weekly bill or £131 a year, came into force on January 1.
The company previously raised prices by 6.9% in July 2021, adding around £41 a year to the bill for a typical household.
Other rivals have followed suit, including SSE Airtricity, Northern Ireland’s second-largest electricity supplier, which raised electricity prices by 9% from December 1. This means that the typical customer has seen their bill increase by around £62 per year.
He already had 9.7% price increase from August 2021, adding around £58 per year.
Budget Energy has increased its prices by 29% compared to Novemberthe company’s fourth price hike last year and affecting around 90,000 customers.
In October, Click Energy raised prices for its customers by 16%, which was the second price increase in a month.
He had previously raised fares by 9%.
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