Calls for investigation into NI energy prices

Charges for electricity generated from wind increasing at the same time as gas prices is one of a series of concerns raised by Northern Ireland's Consumer Council.

In its report Orphans in the Energy Storm, released today (January 19), the council says there is a need for evidence that electricity prices are fair.

Northern Ireland has the highest levels of fuel poverty in the UK, double the average for the rest of Britain.

Statistics revealed last year some 300,000 households in Northern Ireland, defined as spending 10% or more of household income on fuel and energy costs, are in fuel poverty.

And as a result the Consumer Council is urging Northern Ireland’s Executive to re-examine 2008’s McIldoon Report which endorsed the electricity tariff-setting process, while also setting a number of recommendations.

Consumer Council chief executive, Antoinette McKeown, said: “In light of recent energy price rises, the Consumer Council has reviewed Douglas McIldoon’s report.

“We agree with his continuing conclusion that energy policy in Northern Ireland remains confused and contradictory today.

“Our concern is that consumers could be paying less for their electricity but the Consumer Council cannot act alone to achieve that.

“At the very least we believe there should be debate around how electricity prices could be lowered; this report is our contribution to that debate.”

Northern Ireland minister for social development, Alex Attwood, said fuel poverty ‘is very important’.

Luke Walsh

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