Northern Ireland electricity and gas
By Sarah Ingrams
Article 7 of 7
Power NI is the biggest electricity retailer in Northern Ireland and has more than 80 years of experience as an energy provider. But is it any good?
Power NI is part of Viridian Group, an Ireland-based energy company which generates power from coal and gas power stations, and wind farms. It supplies electricity to about 500,000 customers but doesn't provide gas.
Power NI has maintained a lot of its market share since competition was introduced from energy companies such as Budget Energy and SSE Airtricity. It still supplies two thirds of the domestic market.
It says it offers its customers advice on and installation of energy-saving measures, from solar panels to insulation. Power NI also says it's committed to community work, supporting local organisations and charities.
Power NI customer score
Power NI came joint fourth out of six energy companies in Northern Ireland in the annual Which? customer survey – the biggest of its kind.
'I found Power NI very pleasant and easy to talk to when I spoke to it about a problem I had.'
The table below shows the breakdown of Power NI's score from our survey.
|Power NI survey results|
|Area of performance||Star rating|
|Customer service and complaints handling|
|Value for money|
|Bills (accuracy and clarity)|
|Helping you to save energy|
Survey: Online, October 2016. Includes responses from 108 Power NI customers.
Find out how Power NI compares with other energy companies – go to Northern Ireland electricity and gas firms.
Which? verdict on Power NI
Customers gave Power NI three stars for its customer services, bills and value for money, but four stars for its efforts to help customers save energy. This means it's an average energy company but not a fantastic one – other firms in Northern Ireland are rated better value for money.
One customer commented: 'It lets me know how to conserve my energy, so I can choose how to control my bills.' Others have also mentioned how Power NI bills are clear and easy to understand.
Power NI offers a choice of tariffs, including online-only tariffs, and monthly or quarterly direct debit bills. One customer said: ‘It offers reasonable tariffs and different deals to suit.’
Power NI also claims to be the UK leader in pay-as-you-go keypad metering (when customers top up their energy credit as they would a mobile phone). Around two fifths of its customers pay using this method.
Pros: A well-established company whose customers think it helps them save energy.
Cons: Only provides electricity. Customers of other firms rate their provider as better value for money.
Power NI fuel mix
Where Power NI gets its fuel:
- 20.5% coal
- 56.7% natural gas
- 14.5% renewable
- 7.5% peat
- 1% other.
(Information correct as of January 2017)
Power NI in the news
In February 2016, Power NI cut its electricity prices by 10.3%, taking effect on 1 April 2016. The cuts were in response to falling gas prices – the main fuel used in its power generation. The reduction in electricity price translated to about a £50 yearly saving for average-use customers.
In February 2015, Power NI announced it was cutting its prices by 9.2%, effective from 1 April 2015, saving typical domestic customers about £53 a year.
Power NI is subject to price-control regulation, meaning that there is a limit on how much profit the company can make. The control protects customers from big price increases since competition in the market is still quite new. If the company makes more profit than it is allowed, it must pass this back to customers through lower charges.