Energy Minister welcomes electricity price reviewMonday, 24 November 2008
Energy Minister, Arlene Foster welcomed today’s announcement by the Utility Regulator to review Northern Ireland electricity prices.
The Minister said: “My Department is in continuous contact with the Utility Regulator in relation to energy prices for both domestic and business customers.
“The downward trend in wholesale oil, coal, and gas prices over the past number of weeks has presented the Utility Regulator with a timely opportunity to review retail electricity prices in Northern Ireland with the potential for any savings to be passed on to hard pressed consumers.”
Arlene Foster continued: “There is no guarantee that the review will result in a reduction in electricity prices, as NIE Energy has already bought a significant proportion of its energy requirements in advance, to help ensure price stability.
“However, I am confident that the Utility Regulator will act in the best interest of consumers and pass on any electricity price reductions as quickly as possible.”
The Department has no direct role in determining energy prices but will continue to strive, in co-operation with the Utility Regulator and the Consumer Council to create market conditions that, over the long term, drive down energy prices.
Following the 1 October price increase by NIE Energy, an independent review of the electricity price setting process was initiated by the Utility Regulator on 18 September. This is being carried out by the former regulator, Douglas McIldoon, with a report expected in the forthcoming weeks.
Notes to Editors:
1. NIE Energy raised electricity prices by 14% from 1 July 2008 and by 33.3% from 1 October 2008.
2. NIE Energy supply electricity to approximately 790,000 customers in Northern Ireland.
3. The electricity retail market in Northern Ireland has been fully opened to supply competition since 1 November 2007, in conjunction with establishment of the Single Electricity Market.
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