Around 145,000 mains gas customers in Northern Ireland will see prices increase by an average £39/year from 1 April, as SSE Airtricity hikes prices by 7.8%.

Here's how gas prices are going up:

  • Pay-as-you-go customers will see prices rise from a typical £495/yr to £534/yr.
  • Credit meter customers paying by direct debit will pay a typical £518/yr after the hike, up from £479/yr.
  • Credit meter customers paying by all other methods will see a rise from £501/yr to a typical £540/yr.

If you're hit by the price hike, you do have the option to switch. Firmus Energy also offers mains gas tariffs in the region. You can check if you can save by using the Consumer Council for Ireland's energy price comparison tool.

For more info, plus tips on cutting your gas usage to save, see our Cheap Northern Ireland Energy guide.

Why are prices going up?

According to SSE Airtricity, it's putting up prices due to increases in the cost of using the gas networks, as well as higher wholesale costs.

The supplier's prices are also regulated - each year its charges are reviewed in consultation with the Northern Irish Utility Regulator, the Department for the Economy, and the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland.

According to the Utility Regulator, it 'carefully reviewed each element' of the price increase, to ensure it is justified.

What does SSE Airtricity say?

Andrew Greer, general manager of SSE Airtricity Gas, said: "We're sorry we have to announce an increase in our regulated gas prices. This decision is not taken lightly and is driven by rising external costs outside of our control, including cost increases for transporting gas to customers via the networks and continued increases in the global wholesale cost of natural gas.

"We've worked hard to help reduce the impact of these external costs, and our customers can be assured that this change has been examined and approved by the Utility Regulator.

"As always, we will continue to do everything to ensure we consistently deliver value to our customers in their gas supply, and to provide the greatest possible help and outstanding service that our customers expect from us."