Time for Electricity Suppliers to Reduce Prices
Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has called for Budget Energy, Electric Ireland and SSE Airtricity to reduce the price they charge customers for electricity.
Mr Flanagan, who is the Deputy Chairperson of the Assembly's Enterprise, Trade & Investment, said:
"The price paid to electricity generators through the all-island Single Electricity Market is around 25% lower this week than the price paid to them during the same week last year having fallen from around €80 per megawatt hour (MWH) to just below €60 per megawatt hour (MHW).
"This in turn means that the price electricity suppliers are paying for electricity should have fallen by a similar percentage.
“The Utility Regulator has belatedly agreed to review the price Power NI, as the single regulated supplier, can charge domestic and small-business customers for their electricity.
“However, any determination on this won't take effect until 1st April and most importantly won't apply to the unregulated suppliers, namely Budget Energy, Electric Ireland and SSE Airtricity who historically tend to merely follow the price set by the regulator afterwards.
"We are constantly told that there is now sufficient competition within the electricity supply market. I remain sceptical that this is the case, but if unregulated electricity supply companies want to prove to consumers that competition can work, they should initiate their own price reduction reflecting the fall in the price they themselves pay for electricity from generators. They should not wait for the regulated price changes to take effect.
"We have all seen substantial and welcome price reductions in home heating oil, petrol and diesel. To date, this trend has not been seen in the electricity and gas sectors, where regulation is supposed to protect customers.
“What is actually happening is that all suppliers are now benefitting from the procrastination of the Utility Regulator in reducing the cost of electricity. I am calling on the electricity suppliers that don’t have their prices regulated to immediately introduce a reduction in their prices, by passing the savings they have made onto their customers.”