Northern Ireland's largest energy supplier Power NI is to hike electricity prices by 13.8%, meaning the typical bill for those on its standard tariff will jump by £69/year.
The price increase, effective from Monday 1 October, will see the average annual electricity bill for a typical user on the supplier's standard variable tariff rise from £497 to £565.
Northern Ireland's Utility Regulator, which oversees Power NI's domestic charges, agreed to the new prices. Power NI supplies around 460,000 customers – about 58% of all Northern Ireland's electricity customers – though it doesn't provide gas.
All customers will be hit by the rise as Power NI don't offer fixed deals – though you can get a discount of up to 6% on its standard tariff depending on how you pay. To get the max 6% discount, you'll need to manage your account online and pay by direct debit.
This increase only affects the maximum price Power NI can charge – many can still switch and save. For more, see our Cheap Northern Ireland Energy guide.
Why are prices increasing?
According to the Utility Regulator, it agreed to the price increase owing to a rise in 'forecast wholesale gas prices, which drive the price of generating electricity'.
It said since the last tariff review for Power NI in August 2017, wholesale gas prices have increased by around 30%.
As part of its monitoring of Power NI's pricing, costs and profits, the regulator decided to raise the maximum average charge for customers to 17.66p per kilowatt hour of electricity – up 13.8% on the last time prices were reviewed this time last year.
This follows a 5.6% increase last year due to spiking wholesale costs.
'We know that price rises are not welcome'
Utility Regulator chief executive Jenny Pyper said: "We know that price rises are not welcome, which is why we fully scrutinise every element of the tariff to ensure it reflects the actual cost of supplying electricity to Northern Ireland homes.
"This tariff has been set for a two year period, with the aim of providing some price stability, however, as is our usual practice, we will keep this under review. Should wholesale energy or other costs decrease, our system of regulation in Northern Ireland allows us to act as soon as possible to ensure that this reduction is reflected in consumer bills.
"Northern Ireland consumers have five domestic electricity suppliers to choose from and I would encourage them to shop around and explore the options available to them."
Power NI managing director Stephen McCully said: "Putting our prices up is the last thing we want to do, but unfortunately we are at the mercy of fluctuating world fuel prices. Gas, the main fuel used to generate electricity here, has increased significantly by 30% since we last set our prices.
"We've worked through a rigorous process with the Utility Regulator and our customers can be sure that although unwelcome, this increase is as low as possible and our prices are still cheaper than they were five years ago."