Power NI is delighted to support a new Energy Charter alongside other key stakeholders, which will help make a real contribution to consumers that are struggling this winter. The charter’s development was led by the Utility Regulator and the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, with support from local electricity and gas suppliers.
In signing up to this Charter, electricity and gas suppliers have agreed to:
- contribute to a hardship fund for households struggling with their bills;
- reduce the standard debt repayment amount to 20%;
- ensure customers on their care registers will not be moved onto prepayment meters, unless it is requested;
- guarantee that households will not be moved onto a prepayment meter over the Christmas period, unless they request it;
- make sure that customers on their care registers are on the best tariff available; and,
- all consumers will be able to avail of a single website offering clear, up-to-date information on energy efficiency and other matters.
William Steele, Director of Customer Solutions Power NI said:
“We are delighted to be able to stand with other suppliers in the market and support the Energy Charter. We value all our customers, and we remain committed to helping those who are being impacted by the cumulative rise in the cost of living. As well as working directly with customers, we will continue to work closely with the Utility Regulator and Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, assisting in helping the most vulnerable in our society and those who are struggling.”
Commenting on the launch of the charter, John French, Chief Executive of the Utility Regulator said:
“Consumers have told us how much they are struggling with their electricity and gas bills, and this will become a greater challenge as we move further into the winter. As a regulator we are determined to do everything we can, and take the necessary steps, to protect all consumers.
“In addition to the financial package of energy schemes being rolled out by the UK government, the energy charter is a series of measures which together will provide practical and tangible support to vulnerable consumers this winter.
“Along with the Consumer Council, we have been working on developing the energy charter for some time and are grateful for the co-operation of local energy suppliers, as well as colleagues in the Departments for the Economy and Communities, to help us finalise the charter. We believe that the package of measures in the charter will make a tangible difference to those consumers that are struggling this winter. We will ensure that the commitments set out in the energy charter are delivered.”
Peter McClenaghan, Consumer Council Director of Infrastructure and Sustainability, said:
“Times are tough for consumers, particularly in relation to energy prices. Even with the financial support announced by Government most households will pay higher prices this winter than last winter. In March 2022 we found 1 in 3 households were in fuel poverty. Sadly, we expect even more households to struggle in the coming months.
"As consumers are paying very high prices for energy, and many of us are really struggling as a result, the Consumer Council welcome the voluntary agreement of local suppliers to put in place this extra support this winter."
"We will support suppliers to ensure these tangible, beneficial, and measurable commitments to their customers are delivered and will continue to work closely with the Utility Regulator to enhance consumer protection.”