Two of the largest providers of electricity in Northern Ireland will see their prices increase from April 1, despite a cut in their tariffs.

Power NI customers will see a 14 per cent increase in their prices from April 1, while Electric Ireland will see an increase of around 18 per cent, according to the Consumer Council.

Power NI announced a 16.2 per cent decrease in their tariffs with Electric Ireland's tariff decreasing by 9.2 per cent.

However, the UK Government's Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) Scheme support will reduce by 10.33p per unit and this will result in overall tariffs increasing.

William Steele, Director, Power NI Customer Solutions, said: “A decrease in wholesale energy prices has enabled Power NI to again reduce its underlying unit price. However, the recent change by the UK Government to its Energy Price Guarantee means that a lower level of scheme discount will be applied to all electricity bills. Unfortunately, this means customers will see a 14 per cent increase in prices."

As a result of this, the typical standard Power NI credit bill will increase by around £119 and Power NI customers with a prepayment meter will also see their costs increase by £116 a year.

For Electric Ireland customers these combined changes will mean the typical weekly bill will rise from £20.35 to £24.02 (based on average consumption of 3,200 kWh per annum).

Bill Coyle, Northern Ireland Residential Manager said: “We are acutely aware, with the changes to the EPG support rate that this continues to be a very challenging time for many of our customers. Our announcement today will help lessen the impact of these changes and we are writing to inform our customers.

The Consumer Council welcomed news that wholesale energy prices are coming down allowing Power NI and Electric Ireland announce a price reduction for its customers. However, as this is happening at the same time as changes to the level of the Energy Price Guarantee, consumers’ bills will increase.

"This strange situation is happening because the additional back-dated EPG support consumers here were receiving is ending. The additional support had been provided because the EPG was introduced later in Northern Ireland," explained Peter McClenaghan, Director of Infrastructure and Sustainability at the Consumer Council.

"Due to the change in EPG, it is likely that the other four unregulated electricity suppliers in Northern Ireland will increase their prices, accordingly, meaning that consumers should consider reviewing their tariff in the coming months to ensure they are on the best deal for their needs, as money can be saved by switching supplier, tariff, or billing method.

"We know from our pulse survey that most consumers in Northern Ireland are still really worried about home energy prices. We urge anyone who is struggling to pay their energy bills or top-up their meters to contact their supplier directly for help and support.”

Raymond Gormley, Head of Energy Policy at The Consumer Council said Electric Ireland bills will increase by around 18 per cent. However, the Consumer Council said Electric Ireland has confirmed that any customers who choose to switch to another supplier before 22 April 2023 will not be charged.

The Consumer Council’s website contains information on energy efficiency, and an overview of all financial help, grants, and schemes available to help with high energy costs: