Review of electricity and gas prices welcomed

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info@newrytimes.com
Thursday, January 15th, 2015
Politics
Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon has welcomed the announcement by the Utility Regulator that it is to commence a review of Power NI’s regulated electricity tariffs and the regulated gas tariffs of Airtricity Gas Supply and Firmus.

Sinn Fein MLA Megan Fearon

The MLA, who is a member of the Assembly’s Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee, explained, “Over the last six months, we have witnessed a significant fall in the price of crude oil and wholesale gas. “This has resulted in a considerable decrease in costs for most electricity generators and for both electricity and gas supply companies. However this cost reduction has not yet been passed onto consumers like it has with petrol, diesel and home heating oil.” She said that Sinn Féin had raised their concerns about the issue in the Assembly on the 8th December in a debate with the Energy Minister Arlene Foster and again with the Utility Regulator. “It is only right and proper that as the price of fuels fall that the price customers pay falls also. It is unacceptable that this has not happened to date. I am reassured that those suppliers whose prices are regulated will not benefit as any excessive profits they may have made during this time can be clawed back over the coming period, but that may not necessarily be the case for other suppliers. “It will be up to them to set their own prices and I am not content that competition alone will deliver the best outcomes for consumers by hoping that other suppliers will reduce prices in the long term to reflect the profits they have made during the last few months.” She insisted that action should have been taken much earlier. “The Utility Regulator should have acted to protect all customers before this. I can only imagine that if prices had been going the other way, there would have been a much quicker process put in place to allow bills to go up and that such measures would take effect before April as is proposed here, almost a full year after prices started to fall.”

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