Alliance South Belfast representative, Allan Leonard, has welcomed the freeze in Northern Ireland Electricity charges for the next five years. He added, however, that more reduction should be made for those using electricity responsibly or, specifically, for those generating their own.
He said: “This seems like a good balanced decision for customers and shareholders. Customers will not have to pay any more for the transmission of electricity to their homes until 2012 and this makes up about one quarter of the charge they pay for electricity. Let us hope we can have a similar deal on the cost of the electricity itself. Northern Ireland customers have had to pay higher charges than many other UK regions for many years now and it is important that our industry is not disadvantaged by this.
“As the UK ministers are comparing us with the UK in relation to water charges and imposing big increases here they need to consider this as just one of the extra costs of living in Northern Ireland. Certainly customers will see a freeze in electricity prices as a welcome relief after 19% rates rises.
“It is unfair that when the cost of the electricity itself is about three quarters of the bill, those environmentally responsible households who generate their own electricity only get about one third of the price for the electricity they sell to NIE. I would request the regulator to look at this urgently, and try to encourage more people to generate their own electricity by getting them a better price for their excess.”