CONSUMERS have been dealt another blow with the news that electricity bills in Northern Ireland are set to jump by 18 per cent this summer.
Electricity supplier Power NI has blamed the increase in price from July on wholesale costs.
The price hike will man that the average domestic bill rise around £90 per year.
Stephen McCully of Power NI said: “We regret having to make the difficult decision to increase prices, especially since we cut prices by over 14 per cent last October.
“Prices are roughly back to what they were in 2011, since the previous cut is unfortunately now cancelled out.
“The fact is that so much is dependent upon world fuel costs, which are outside our control and which have a volatile effect on the price we pay for wholesale electricity.
“There is never a good time to increase prices and it is something we do reluctantly.”
The increase adds up to an extra £1.73 per week in electricity for the average household or £5.33 for the typical small business owner.
Power NI, which serves 620,000 customers, said it cut its prices last year while other UK companies raised theirs – adding it is always looking for opportunities to reduce costs.
Glyn Roberts of the NI Independent Retail Trade Association said it was a blow to shop owners who are going through tough trading times.
“Given that many members have expensive refrigeration costs, they are going to be particularly hard hit by this increase,” he said.
“We are also concerned that the similar increase on domestic customers will also result in less disposable income and will have a negative impact on spending in our local retail sector.”