The Consumer Council has described the 14.5 per cent increase announced by Phoenix Natural Gas today as a hard but predictable blow to the household budget. The average Phoenix customer will now pay around £77 extra per year. The Consumer Council also called on the Regulator to move quickly to pass through any savings to consumers if gas costs start falling as they are predicted to do.
<p>Domestic consumers in Northern Ireland’s fork out an astonishing £2 million more each week compared with the UK average for fuel, light and power according to Frozen Out, a new report on fuel poverty by the General Consumer Council.</p>
<p>The Consumer Council says the six per cent increase in coal prices announced today is a blow to the 120,000 coal consumers in Northern Ireland. Someone using two bags of the most popular coal will now pay an extra £60 a year to heat their home.</p>
The Consumer Council has formally been established in law as the champion to represent the interests of water consumers here and hold Northern Ireland Water Limited (NIWL) to account. To mark the occasion, the Consumer Council’s Water Group held its first meeting as part of the organisation’s new legal responsibilities for water that came into affect on 1 April 2007.
Loretta O’Hara, Head of Consumer Support at the Consumer Council said:
“The Consumer Council has been in contact with Mr McCarter regarding the £67,000 quotation he received from NIE for a new electricity supply to his home. Mr McCarter is a 74-year-old pensioner who survives on a weekly pension of £100 so the reality is he cannot pay this bill. The Consumer Council has the legal power to represent electricity consumers here and we will be investigating this issue on behalf of Mr McCarter.
The report issued by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) today states that on the whole competition is working in the home heating oil (HHO) industry. However, consumers in Northern Ireland are telling the Consumer Council that competition and choice are luxuries of the wealthier.
The Consumer Council welcomes the opportunity to respond to the
Department for Regional Development (DRD) consultation.
- Consumer Skills