A group of companies has criticized Power NI’s decision to cut electricity prices by less than 5%.
The company is the largest electricity supplier in Northern Ireland.
He said lower prices would save the average customer £ 30 a year. But the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said the decision was “far too little, far too late”.
Roger Pollen, FSB head of external affairs in Northern Ireland, said the cut was “deeply disappointing”.
“The price drop is less than 5%, despite the wholesale price of oil having dropped more than 10 times this amount in the past year,” he said.
“The reduction will not take effect until the following month, which means that the price increase will have persisted throughout the economic crisis. “
“And this announcement is only for domestic customers, with no guarantee that there will be a discount for business customers. “
Power NI said the lower prices would mean customers “would pay much less than households in the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and all over Europe”.
Responding to concerns about business customers, General Manager Stephen McCully said, “The vast majority of our SME customers [small and medium-sized enterprises] in fact already benefit from the reduction in wholesale costs, because these savings are directly passed on to them under the tariff contracts with us.
“It means that all savings are passed on to them immediately. “
“Exceptional drop in demand”
The utility regulator said rising grid costs had offset some of the drop in wholesale energy prices.
Network costs are the costs of transporting electricity through the transmission grid and the local distribution network.
Regulator Jenny Pyper said these costs have been affected by an overall decline in demand for electricity since the start of the crisis.
“This means that network costs, which are largely fixed, are collected on fewer units, which increases the unit cost,” she said.
“The bottom line is that the exceptional drop in demand for electricity due to the Covid-19 pandemic has increased network costs, which has offset the positive impact of lower wholesale costs. “