THE 20% electricity charge hike is bad news for business says Northern Ireland Independent Retail Association (NIIRTA).
Glyn Roberts NIIRTA Chief Executive, who met with senior officials from Power NI and receives much support from the local Co Down chambers of commerce, has expressed major concern about the Wednesday 24th August announcement by Power NI of a 20% electricity hike for both domestic and small business customers.
“This is very bad news for both domestic and small business customers of Power NI that their bills are to rise by 19%. The timing of this hike could not have came at a worse time for consumers and independent retailers.
“For small traders this hike is a double blow. Hard working families will face an even greater impact on their disposable incomes and could well reduce spending with local retailers as a result. Furthermore, small traders will face huge pressures in trying to absorb such a dramatic hike in their energy bills and still remain competitive”
“We would urge all local small businesses and independent retailers to work with Power NI to look again if they are on the right tariff and to make sure that they pay their electricity bills by Direct Debit which can save them up to 4%”.
“NIIRTA has been working with Power NI to develop support packages for the installation of energy saving LED lighting and Refrigeration which could result in a very significant reduction in costs for business owners.
“The NI Executive as a matter of urgency must ensure that the new extension to the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme quickly passes through the Assembly to support those who are going to be hit hard by this hike.”
Newcastle Alliance Councillor Concerned At Electricity Price Hike
Councillor Patrick Clarke has expressed very serious concerns that Power NI are increasing their prices by nearly 19% and said the move will have serious implications as regards fuel poverty particularly for the most vulnerable across the rural and urban areas of Down District.
He said, “This marks an average annual increase of £92 a year more households in Down District and across Northern Ireland will have to pay to power and heat their homes.”
“This is a very serious hike and it will have a real impact on households on low income in terms of fuel poverty. Many households this winter will be plunged into fuel poverty due to spending increased money on electricity. ”
“This increase in electricity prices could have a profound effect on people who are already struggling to make ends meet, and could potentially have to make life or death decisions.
“These are very difficult economic times, with household bills and the price of food at a high level, and this increase is a worrying development. I understand that the cost of producing electricity is high. However, this is a very large price increase that customers are facing.”
“The North’s reliance on the importing of fossil fuels does not help the cost of electricity prices. It is very important that we should be exploring how we can increase the use of renewable energy and employ home insulations schemes to help people keep their energy bills as low as possible.”