SSE Airtricity Gas NI Limited - Tariff Change - Frequently Asked Questions

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Tariff Change - Frequently Asked Questions

Tariff Change FAQs

Following a consultation with the Northern Ireland Utility Regulator, we will be increasing our natural gas prices by 21.8% from 1 October 2021. We are revising our prices to reflect the sustained increases in external costs outside of our control, including rising costs in acquiring natural gas on global wholesale energy markets. These costs impact all suppliers in the market as we have seen from similar announcements earlier this year.

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Full details of all payment options are available on our here.

We fully appreciate that no price increase is welcome, and we are committed to supporting you at this time. We have captured below some of our most frequently asked questions around the tariff change.

Why are you increasing gas prices at this time?

We’re sorry we have to increase gas prices at this time. The need for this change is regrettable but is being driven by sustained increases in external costs outside of our control. It includes a 76%1 increase in wholesale natural gas costs over the last 4 months which is affecting all energy suppliers across the UK and Ireland.

We have made every effort to limit the impact of these cost increases on our tariff and continually seek to deliver the best value for our customers.

As a price regulated domestic gas supplier, our prices are independently scrutinised and approved by the Utility Regulator, following consultation with the Consumer Council and the Department for the Economy, ensuring fairness and transparency in the setting of prices.

As always, we will ensure that any future reduction in costs will be reflected in prices through the twice-yearly tariff reviews conducted with the Utility Regulator.

1Comparison for forward Winter 21 gas prices as of 1 April 2021 vs 27 July 2021 showed an average 76% increase.

After this increase, how much will a typical customer pay for their gas?

This price change means a typical household customer will see gas costs rise by around £2.15 per week2 on a credit meter and £2.13 per week on a PAYG meter.3

 2 From 1 October 2021, the typical annual cost of household natural gas will be £626, based on a customer on a standard 24hr credit meter tariff (Home Energy Standard) with typical medium level consumption of 12,000 kWh. Figures rounded to the nearest Pound value and are inclusive of VAT. Actual costs vary according to meter type, individual tariff and consumption.

3 From 1 October 2021, the typical annual cost of household natural gas will be £618, based on a customer on a PAYG Meter with typical medium level consumption of 12,000 kWh. Figures rounded to the nearest Pound value and are inclusive of VAT. Actual costs vary according to meter type, individual tariff and consumption. 

How is the cost of gas tariff made up?

The cost of supplying natural gas comprises the cost of purchasing natural gas on the wholesale market, transporting it through the transmission pipeline, distributing it through the local network in Greater Belfast, and supplying the gas to customers.

Each element of the final price to customers is explained in more detail here.

How much has the cost of gas increased?

Wholesale gas prices have seen record increases with an average 76% increase between 1 April 2021 vs 27 July 2021.

Why haven’t you done more to limit these cost increases?

We have made every effort to limit the impact of these cost increases on our tariff and continually seek to deliver the best value for our customers.

Global wholesale gas prices rise and fall on a daily basis. Buying gas on any one particular day risks “locking in” a more expensive price. So, over a longer period we gradually buy gas to meet our customers’ needs and protect them from price spikes. Throughout 2021, average natural gas prices have increased significantly which has led to an overall increase in costs as reflected in this price increase. 

As a price regulated domestic gas supplier our prices are independently scrutinised and approved by the Utility Regulator, following consultation with the Consumer Council and the Department for the Economy, ensuring fairness and transparency in the setting of our prices.

As always, we will ensure that any future reduction in costs will be reflected in prices through the twice-yearly tariff reviews conducted with the Utility Regulator.

Are businesses affected by this price increase? 

The 21.8% price increase is applicable to our regulated Domestic and Small Business Customers (IC1 with consumption less than 73,200kWh consumption per year).

Our Medium to Large business Customers (consumption >73,200 kWh) may also be affected and we will inform customers in these consumption bands directly of any changes are appliable to them subject to prices agreed in their contracts.

Will you increase or reduce prices again in the future?

While we don’t know what energy markets will do in the future, we will continue to keep a close eye on all our costs, and we’ll maintain our commitment to passing on any savings as quickly as possible.

We review our gas prices in consultation with the Utility Regulator every six months taking into consideration all supply and operating costs for the regulated gas business.

We are committed to reducing our prices as soon as it is possible to do so. However, if we have to increase our prices, it will only be as a result of increased costs to supply gas to you, which the Utility Regulator will review and approve as part of the bi-annual tariff review process in April and October each year.  

I currently pay by Direct Debit Budget Plan; do I need to do anything?

There’s no need for you to do anything at this stage. You will receive a letter outlining any change to your payment amount.

Because of this increase, I cannot afford to pay for the gas I need, what supports are available?

If you have any concerns about paying your energy bills, please contact us as soon as possible so together we can come to an arrangement that allows you to manage your bills.

There are multiple ways to pay, including using a prepayment meter. If you would like to discuss your options, just contact us and we can find the most appropriate way for you. Full details of all our payment options are available on our website here

Customers who choose to pay by our monthly Direct Debit Budget Plan, in order to spread the cost of your usage over the year, will continue to receive a £22.05 discount. You can call us on 0345 900 5253 or email us at info@airtricitygasni.com if you would like to discuss. 

You can make a significant difference to the amount of natural gas you use and save money in the process by following useful hints and tips which we provide here or over the phone with our Customer Service Team. We also have a helpful Energy Efficiency available in our Code of Practice on Efficient Use of Gas.

Independent support or advice

If you would like some free, independent local support, you may find it helpful to contact Advice NI, who provide a range of free money advice services. You can contact them by calling 0800 915 4604, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm or emailing advice@adviceni.net. For more information visit adviceni.net. They’re also operating the NI Covid-19 community helpline on 0808 802 0020 or at covid19@adviceni.net.

I am currently on a payment plan and with the increase I will struggle to afford my debt repayment, what can I do?

If you have any concerns about paying your energy bills, please contact us as soon as possible so together we can come to a manageable arrangement.

If needed, we will offer an arrangement to pay an agreed amount by instalments or through a prepayment meter. You can call us on 0345 900 5253 or email us at creditcontrol@airtricitygasni.com if you would like to discuss. 

We want to help you as best we can, if we don’t hear from you, you’re at risk of having your meter exchanged. Our debt collection process includes contacting you by letter, SMS and phone to try and engage with you.

Do you expect other suppliers to follow suit?

We cannot comment on other supplier’s plans in the respective Network Areas. Our focus is on continuing to do everything we can to ensure we consistently deliver value to our customers in their gas supply, provide our customers with the greatest possible help and the outstanding service that our customers expect from us.

Will you be increasing your Electricity Prices?

We recently announced a 9.7% increase standard household electricity prices from 1 August 2021. Please read here for more information.

If you wish to speak with our electricity department, please call our Customer Service Team on 0345 601 9093 or through webchat. We’re here to help Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm. In addition, our webchat service is also available weekends and bank holidays, 10am to 6pm.

Is my contract right impacted by this change?

If you’re not happy with these changes in tariff, you have the right to terminate your agreement with SSE Airtricity in line with our Terms and Conditions. Our full Terms and Conditions can be viewed at here.

See the CCNI Price Comparison Table for current comparison on gas rates in your area.

Do I have to do anything? / How will my bills be affected?

The new tariff rate will automatically be applied to your account from 1 October 2021. All consumption in the billing period will be pro-rated, with the tariff rate for the applicable day being applied to your bill.

If you are on Direct Debit Budget Plan, we will be writing to you separately outlining any changes to your monthly payment amount.

If you have a PAYG meter, the first top-up you purchase on or after 1 October 2021 will update your meter with the new rates. Due to the technology behind the PAYG meters, any existing credit on your meter on 1 October 2021, will be consumed on the tariff rate prior to 1 October 2021.

How can I help reduce my energy costs in my home?

You can make a significant difference to the amount of natural gas you use and save money in the process by following useful hints and tips which we provide here or over the phone with one of our Customer Service Team. We also have a helpful Energy Efficiency available in our Code of Practice on Efficient Use of Gas.

To request a copy of any of any of our Codes of Practice or if you would like any advice or support in relation to reducing your gas consumption, call us on 0345 900 5253 or email info@airtricitygasni.com.

Independent Energy Efficiency Advice

For more information and independent support on how you can use gas efficiently, contact NI Energy Advice on 0800 111 4455 or visit their website here.

Do you have any discounts on your tariffs?

Customers who choose to pay by our monthly Direct Debit Budget Plan will continue to receive a £22.05 discount.The requires a continuous supply meter at your property and if you are changing from a PAYG meter there is a once of charge to exchange the meter.

There are no discounts on Quarterly Credit or PAYG.

Can I submit a meter read?

If you would like to submit a meter read to align your consumption to the two tariff rates you can do so here.

What are you doing to reward the loyalty of existing customers?

At SSE Airtricity, as well as providing the best possible value and service, we always want to go that extra mile for our customers.

For instance, customers who sign up to SSE Reward get access to a range of exclusive customer benefits at The SSE Arena, Belfast, including exclusive access to the SSE Reward Lounge, up to 48-hour advance tickets, discounts on the best hotels and restaurants as well as exciting competitions and promotions. We hope to welcome customers back to The SSE Arena soon.

The question I have isn’t here? 

If you have a question that is not covered here, please visit our Help Centre or contact us by email at info@airtricitygasni.com or by calling us on 0345 900 5253. We’re here to help Monday - Thursday 08:30 -17:00 and Friday 08:30 -16:30.

SSE Airtricity is a trading name of SSE Airtricity Gas Supply (NI) Limited which is a member of the SSE Group. The Registered Office of SSE Airtricity Gas Supply (NI) Limited is Millennium House, 25 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7AQ. Registered in Northern Ireland No. NI032810.

View a list of our registered companies

SSE Airtricity is a trading name of SSE Airtricity Gas Supply (NI) Limited which is a member of the SSE Group. The Registered Office of SSE Airtricity Gas Supply (NI) Limited is Millennium House, 25 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7AQ. Registered in Northern Ireland No. NI032810.

View a list of our registered companies

If you smell gas, phone the 24-hour Northern Ireland Gas Emergency Service on 0800 002 001.