Many will have heard by now that Power NI will increase the price of grid-supplied electricity by 18% this July, thereby cancelling out the much trumpeted cut of 14% made in October last year.
This net 4% increase is consistent with grid-supplied electricity price inflation over the last decade. And many still remember the dramatic electricity price spike of 36% between January and October 2008. The explanation is a familiar one: wholesale price volatility.
It’s easy to knock Power NI, but they have a near impossible task ahead. For many years, they enjoyed monopoly status. Today they face competition from Airtricity, Budget and more recently, Electric Ireland and their market share has fallen to 79%. They may lose more ground in the coming days and weeks as consumers respond to today’s announcement. As consumers flee to lower priced rivals, Power NI’s buying power is diminished. And because they are almost entirely dependent on finite fossil fuels, especially scarce and expensive gas, their pricing can only increase overtime. Here’s the mix of energy sources in their supply:
- Coal 17.6%
- Natural gas 70.4%
- Renewable* 3.4%
- Peat 6.4%
- Oil 1.7%
- Other 0.5%
* Wind, hydro and solar power
It’s worth noting that N. Ireland has set a target of 40% renewable electricity by 2020, yet the major supplier has a meager 3.4% in their mix…
Even with competition in the electricity supply market, Northern Ireland is almost entirely dependent on imported energy, whilst global demand for energy is growing massively which drives up costs. From 2015, the UK will start to shut down over 20% of old, dirty and inefficient generating capacity. Replacing this generating capacity will take time and prove expensive – the era of cheap, plentiful energy is over. The outlook is bleak, and spiraling costs to homes and businesses is inevitable.
The obvious step homeowners must take is to reduce consumption. We describe numerous ways you can save energy HERE. Next, take advantage of the choice of suppliers we have and shop around. Right now, Budget Energy offers the lowest tariff to homeowners:
And finally, think seriously about going solar… We commissioned our latest system today. At 3.84 kWp, Doug & Lorna were expecting to make £259.55 savings in electricity in the first year of operation, this will now be over £300 in addition to £588 of NIROC’s earnings and £86 of export income. That’s a net benefit of over £980 in year one from going solar. And because Doug and Lorna spent £960 on electricity last year, they will cover this with a £20 surplus.
Solar is affordable and clean. Every watt you produce from your roof is FREE. And a Planet Solar system is guaranteed to perform for 30 years as standard, and up to 40 years for our Premium Plus system.
We make going solar simple… get in touch at our CONTACT page to find out more.