Energy Price Guarantee for NI households launches, BUT…
From today (Tuesday 1 November) households in Northern Ireland will receive money off their energy bills, shielding them from soaring energy costs as the UK government’s Energy Price Guarantee launches.
The scheme reduces the price suppliers charge customers for units of gas and electricity, with support running until 31 March 2023 - providing crucial help to households who might otherwise face very significant increases in their energy bills.
It offers support equivalent to help already being delivered in Great Britain, which is expected to save consumers who use both gas and electricity around £700 this winter.
However, but the the previously announced Energy Bill Support Scheme, due to deliver a £400 electricity payment has been delayed.
Former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss said in an interview in September that every household in Northern Ireland would receive a £400 payment off their electricity bills from November 2022.
At that time, the then NI Economy Minister Gordon Lyons stated that electricity keypad customers would receive this in three installments upon topping up a pre-pay electric meter with £5.
The £400 energy bill discount for all households through the Northern Ireland Energy Bills Support Scheme is designed to offer the same level of support as households in Great Britain.
Tonight, Tuesday 1 November, in a statement, the UK government said it is working at pace to deliver a solution which accounts for differences in the Northern Ireland energy market so it can get to households as soon as possible.
Love Ballymena approached the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), but no details were forthcoming to explain the delay.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris said:
"This is vital support for households across Northern Ireland, providing relief for many families in the face of high energy bills.
"It is disappointing that this support has had to be delivered in the absence of a functioning Executive, but the government has been clear in its commitment to help Northern Ireland households through this challenging time."
The Northern Ireland Utility Regulator said it is working with the government to see the support delivered in the province.
John French, Chief Executive of the Utility Regulator commented:
"The Utility Regulator welcomes the delivery of both the Energy Price Guarantee scheme and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme in Northern Ireland, the first schemes to go live from the UK government’s energy support package.
"This support is desperately needed to help households and businesses in Northern Ireland with their energy bills this winter.
"We have worked hard to assist the UK government with the delivery of these schemes and we will continue to provide proactive support to get the additional schemes rolled out in Northern Ireland.
"Specifically, we are currently working with the UK government to ensure that the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme payment is paid to Northern Ireland consumers as soon as possible."