Energy bills are a significant expense for householders and small business alike. Around 42% of NI households experience fuel poverty, while 31% of FSB members highlight energy prices as a barrier to growth. If Northern Ireland is to protect its most vulnerable, and grow its economy, it is essential that consumers are able to receive the benefits of competitive energy retail markets.
The second phase of the Utility Regulator’s Review of the Effectiveness of Competition in the Northern Ireland Energy Retail Market, launched on 21 December 2015, provides an opportunity to ensure domestic consumers continue to get the best deal.
Currently the Utility Regulator is able to effectively regulate the cost of electricity and gas to the consumer, by setting the prices of the largest suppliers. For complex reasons, this style of regulation will not be possible in future, and the consultation’s focus is on how best to protect consumers, once it comes to an end. One of the options is to go down the same route as GB and ROI where the energy markets are deregulated.
On 1 March, Chambré Public Affairs will host – in association with Cleaver Fulton Rankin Solicitors and the Federation of Small Businesses – a half-day seminar on the review in QUB’s Riddel Hall. Featuring context and analysis from noted experts and sector representatives, the seminar will provide the best possible snapshot of the review. It is also perfectly timed to inform responses to the Utility Regulator’s consultation, which closes on 18 March. Your participation will directly inform the Utility Regulator’s thinking on this vital issue.