A new website is set to make it much simpler for households to save money on electricity bills. This locally-owned and managed site identifies the cheapest tariffs offered by the four companies competing in Northern Ireland, emphasising the opportunity for local consumers to reduce their costs.
The website, enirgy.info, has been launched by veteran business journalist Jamie Delargy who is aiming to satisfy the requirement for up-to-date and accurate information on the price of power in a market which is becoming more competitive each year.
According to Mr Delargy, the site has arrived at an important time for the consumer. "For several years after the domestic electricity market was opened to competition, Power NI remained the only supplier, but in the last four years it has been joined by SSE Airtricity, Budget Energy and Electric Ireland," he explained.
"I have believed for some time that there is a need for an online service here which can perform a similar job to energy price comparison sites operating in Britain and the Republic. Now families in Northern Ireland can use the site to choose the cheapest deal to fit their preferred method of payment.
"It's very important to note that the site is independent from the energy industry. We do not accept advertising from the suppliers featured and also do not to take 'click through' fees which are often paid by electricity companies to comparison sites for helping them win new customers."
Despite the arrival of new entrants, the switching rate between utility companies in Northern Ireland is still lower than in GB. Power NI remains the biggest supplier to the domestic market with 73% of market share by customer numbers. However boosting the switching rate to levels that have been recorded across the water could create savings for tens of thousands of households.
In addition to offering consumers an insight into potential savings through switching, enirgy.info provides facts, figures and analysis about the electricity market. It is designed to be a resource for those wanting a better understanding of the reasons why electricity prices are so high and what could be done to lower costs.
Utility Regulator Chief Executive, Jenny Pyper, said: "I welcome the launch of this locally based website which provides another source of public information to help consumers make better informed choices about their energy tariffs."
While the site is aimed at the moment at domestic consumers, over the next few months, the website will address the business market for electricity with a view to providing companies with the information needed to allow them to reduce their bills.