Northern Ireland's main electricity supplier has cut bills by nearly a tenth for all households after falls in wholesale gas prices.
Power NI, which supplies electricity to around 551,000 households, has announced it's cutting prices by 9.2% from 1 April, equating to a saving of £53 on the average bill. (Join our free Cheap Energy Club to find the cheapest tariff for you.)
The move will see bills for average users fall from £524 to £471. The reduction will apply to all customers regardless of tariff type, including prepayment users.
Power NI doesn't supply gas and it also doesn't sell fixed electricity tariffs, which usually lock customers in at a set price and don't change when a supplier increases or decreases prices.
While all of the major UK providers have announced cuts to their standard gas tariffs over the past month due to the fall in global oil and gas prices, this is the first large supplier to cut electricity prices.
However, gas is used to generate 57% of electricity in the market in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, according to the Consumer Council in Northern Ireland.
Power NI managing director Stephen McCully says: "We promised that we would always look for ways to reduce prices and save our customers money. I'm happy to say that we can now deliver lower prices.
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"This means more money in the pockets of householders and, with business and farms also seeing a similar price reduction, it's good news all round."
What about gas prices in Northern Ireland?
SSE Airtricity is Northern Ireland's main household gas supplier. It says it is currently undergoing its annual review of gas prices with the Utility Regulator and that an announcement will be made in the coming weeks.
SSE's 4.1% gas price cut coming in from 30 April only applies to households in Great Britain, and not to those in Northern Ireland as the two markets operate differently.
SSE Airtricity also supplies electricity to households in Northern Ireland but it hasn't reduced prices yet this year and says it can't comment on whether or not it will do so. It adds that while its gas business is regulated, the electricity business isn't.
Energy price cuts
Major energy suppliers have been under intense pressure from politicians and consumer groups to respond more quickly to the reductions in the wholesale prices of oil and gas.
The Competition and Markets Authority in Great Britain has launched an inquiry into how the energy industry operates to see if any features of this market restrict competition and, if so, what action might be taken to remedy them. It is due to publish a final report by the end of the year.
Here's a roundup of the cuts already announced by the major providers:
- E.on cut gas prices by 3.5% on 13 January (see the E.on cuts gas prices MSE news story for more).
- EDF cut gas prices by 1.3% from 11 February (see the EDF announces gas price cut MSE News story).
- Npower is cutting gas prices by 5.1% from 16 February (see the Npower to cut gas prices MSE news story).
- Scottish Power is cutting gas prices by 4.8% from 20 February (see the Scottish Power trims standard gas price MSE news story).
- British Gas is cutting gas prices by 5% from 27 February (see the British Gas to cut gas prices MSE news story).
- Ovo is cutting gas prices by 10.4% from 1 March.
- SSE is cutting gas prices by 4.1% from 30 April (see the SSE the latest firm to cut gas prices MSE news story).
Additional reporting by the Press Association.