You’ve probably seen the headlines this week about electricity prices coming down and I’ll agree that’s a good thing for all of us. But have you checked to see if you’re on the best tariff and getting the best deal on your electricity in Northern Ireland?
I’ll be honest with you I hadn’t and after researching this article, many of us are getting stroked which is a technical term for being overcharged by our suppliers. Today by changing supplier to we’ve reduced our electricity cost by over 25%. Let me explain how you can check and switch if you need to.
In Northern Ireland, there are 5 main suppliers of household electricity. PowerNI, SSE Airtricity, Budget Energy, Electric Ireland and Click Energy. If you want electricity in your home, you need to sign up with one of these companies. Now many of us assume we’re getting a great rate and I’ll admit, it’s easy to just stick with the same company and moan about the rising prices.
I’ve had the same supplier for the past 13 years and honestly, until the past 12 months, I’ve never given much consideration to the rate we were paying. Sure all the prices are going up, which was true. But many didn’t go up as much and others are coming down less now as prices fall.
Cost of living in Northern Ireland
This week I’ve seen plenty of press about SSE Airtricity reducing prices by 7%. Now SSE is my supplier and like every household in NI our prices have risen considerably, through no fault of our own. Last year we were protected from the worst of the rises by the £600 subsidy that every household received, but this year there’s no such support and the full force of the increases will be felt by all.
And SSE’s reduction sounds great on the face of it, but in reality, this doesn’t make them anywhere near the most competitive rate any of us can receive.
Reducing Electricity Use
Now at this point, you all know the drill, using less electricity is the key to bringing down your costs, but there’s only so far you can cut your usage and keep costs as low as possible. At the same time, we need to ensure we’re paying the least for our utilities. But with all the noise in the press, all the salespeople calling at our door telling you their company is the cheapest, how can we find out the cheapest electricity supplier in NI?
Enter the Consumer Council. They provide free, independent support and advice for all consumers and businesses in Northern Ireland. Importantly for us, they compare all electricity tariffs in NI and update a central resource when new price increases or decreases are announced.
Well, the latest data was published yesterday and it’s telling.
The Consumer Council – Objective Price Comparison
The above image is part of the Consumer Council electricity price comparison table. This shows every tariff in NI for electricity supply. The 5 suppliers are shown as are each of their tariffs. As of yesterday, Click Energy and Power NI are the two cheapest electricity providers in Northern Ireland. Tariffs range from 26.982p to 44.065p per kWh.
Check out all the latest electricity prices here: https://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/policy-research/publications/electricity_price_comparison_table
I wasn’t really sure what I was paying, so I headed over to my current supplier’s online portal to look at my latest bill. So it turns out I’m on the SSE SmartSaver Std 6% rate which is 37.94p per unit. This meant nothing until I started comparing it with other competitors. In fact, we’re on one of the highest rates around. Apathy…..costing us all money. Not on my watch….
Checking over the invoices further, in the past 12 months, we’ve used 2524 units. Now since I’m planning to switch suppliers and I expect our usage to be similar this coming year, I want to see who would be the cheapest for our home. I know that Click Energy and Power NI have the lowest tariffs, so I’ll base my calculations on the lowest rates I can get.
Click Energy – Cheapest Electricity Supplier in NI
Let’s start with doing nothing. If we stick with SSE, we’ll expect an annual bill of £957.60 next year. If we move to Power NI, we’ll drop our bill to £752.65. That’s over £200 saved for a phone call.
Now Click Energy prices their electricity slightly differently. They charge a lower rate per unit for the electricity and also have a Standing Charge pence per day for the maintenance of service to your home. Using the 26.982p per unit x 2524 units = £681.02 and then adding in the annual standing charge of £36.03 the total bill will be £717.05, a saving of £240 or 25% on our electricity prices.
Now I went a bit further to see when Power NI would be cheaper than Click Energy. Thanks ChatGPT.
The calculation is shown below, but in short, PowerNI and Click Energy will match when the annual electricity usage is approximately 1282.61 kWh. If your annual usage is below this level, PowerNI will be more cost-effective, and if it’s above this level, Click Energy will be more cost-effective.
When is Power NI Cheaper than Click Energy?
To find the level of annual usage in kWh at which the costs for Supplier A (PowerNI) and Supplier B (Click Energy) match, you can set the two cost equations equal to each other and solve for Annual Usage in kWh.
Cost_A = (Annual Usage in kWh) * 29.820p per kWh
Cost_B = (Annual Usage in kWh) * 26.982p per kWh + 365 days * 9.873p per day
Set the two costs equal to each other:
(Annual Usage in kWh) * 29.820p = (Annual Usage in kWh) * 26.982p + 365 * 9.873p
Now, you can solve for Annual Usage in kWh:
29.820p * (Annual Usage in kWh) = 26.982p * (Annual Usage in kWh) + 365 * 9.873p
Subtract 26.982p * (Annual Usage in kWh) from both sides:
(29.820p – 26.982p) * (Annual Usage in kWh) = 365 * 9.873p
2.838p * (Annual Usage in kWh) = 365 * 9.873p
Now, divide both sides by 2.838p to solve for Annual Usage in kWh:
Annual Usage in kWh = (365 * 9.873p) / 2.838p
Annual Usage in kWh = 1282.61
So, the costs for Supplier A and Supplier B will match when the annual electricity usage is approximately 1282.61 kWh. If your annual usage is below this level, Supplier A will be more cost-effective, and if it’s above this level, Supplier B will be more cost-effective.
I’ve already made the call to switch suppliers today. Actually, that’s important to note. The supply of electricity will be unchanged. There’s no benefit for loyalty and every electricity provider offers exactly the same product.
Now I’m sure each of the electricity providers will say their customer service is better than the others, but as I’ve not spoken to any provider in 13 years, I’ll not mind holding on a call the next time I need to speak to someone.
It’s not me SSE, it’s you! See ya
Changing Electricity Supplier in Northern Ireland
Changing suppliers couldn’t be easier. Pick the company you want to switch to, gather a few bits of information and give them a call.
You’ll definitely need
- Your MPRN (Meter Point Reference Number)
- Your bank account details and
- Your meter reading
Click Energy has a dedicated switching page on its site which I used myself today. They take a few days to set everything up and then cheaper electricity awaits.
Let me know in the comments if you found this useful, if so I’d ask you to put RKOZ1V in the referral code box over at Click Energy, I get £20 credit off my electricity and it costs you nothing.
If you’re currently with PowerNI, it may not save you a whole pile switching to Click Energy, but right now, even £50 saved is a big deal. And if you’re with the other supplier, it might be time to change.