Finding the right energy provider for you can be tricky. Rising energy prices are an issue nationwide, and Northern Ireland is no exception.
While Northern Ireland could not be included in this years' energy survey, we've still thoroughly researched different energy firms so you can be sure your provider is meeting your power needs. In previous years, our survey has shown very little difference between firms.
A key difference between Northern Ireland and the rest of Great Britain is that electricity and gas markets usually operate separately from each other - meaning 'dual fuel' tariffs are not common. Scroll down to read more on how gas distribution works in Northern Ireland.
Many companies in Northern Ireland also offer a pay-as-you-go tariff, sometimes called a 'keypad' tariff, so customers only pay for energy they use.
Keep reading to see the full rundown of the biggest energy companies in Northern Ireland.
Power NI has the most customers of all Northern Ireland energy firms, with over 500,000 members. It has been established for over 80 years and is proud of having a 'customer-first' approach.
As well as claiming to have some of the cheapest tariffs in Northern Ireland, it also offers a range of 'perks' for customers. These include a loyalty rewards scheme and saving on brands and retailers such as M&S, Amazon, Apple and iTunes.
Power NI offers five electricity tariffs, which start at a standard rate with a postal bill. Power NI offers paper or online bills, though recommends online bills more to customers.
The other tariffs include the Keypad with Energy online, the Standard online billing, Online billing with Quarterly Direct Debit, and Online billing with Monthly Direct Debit. These tariffs (excluding Keypad) are between 2 to 6% cheaper than the standard rate.
Founded in 2010, Budget Energy is one of Northern Irelands largest leading energy providers and has taken thousands of customers onboard.
Budget Energy offers four billed tariffs and five pay-as-you-go tariffs, so customers have plenty of flexibility choosing a payment option which suits them.
Budget Energy's tariffs also all feature no exit fees or security deposits.
Electric Ireland offers monthly billed plans, Keypad plans, and farm plans.
Monthly plans include the Simpler Living Offer and the Economy 7 Offer, both of which come with £50 welcome credit. Each contact is 12 months long and has a £40 early exit fee. There is also a Discount Offer as part of the Simpler Living plan, which offers 10% off the unit rate.
The pay-as-you-go tariffs include the Keypad Offer and the Keypad Economy 7 Offer. Both are 12 month contracts and come with a £40 welcome credit, as well as a £40 early exit fee.
The Keypad Offer is a fixed rate, whereas the Keypad Economy 7 is a variable tariff.
Electric Ireland also offer standard Keypad and monthly billed plans, with no contract or exit fees included.
Launched in 2015, Click Energy claims to be Northern Ireland's friendliest and most transparent electricity company. It provides low-cost electricity for residential and commercial buildings as well as farmlands.
There are a range of tariffs available, including a 'green' tariff which takes energy from sustainable sources. Click Energy also encourages customers to opt for paperless billing to be more eco-friendly.
Customers have the choice between monthly fixed or variable tariffs, or pay-as-you-go keypad tariffs. Monthly tariffs are reviewed by Click Energy every 6 months to make sure it's still the best plan for you.
It also offers a Clickbacks loyalty scheme, which gives customers discounts from brands and retailers. It's only for Click Energy customers, so you'll lose discounts if you switch supplier.
Founded in 1997, SSE Airtricity claims to be a leading provider of green energy in Northern Ireland, sourcing its power from natural gas or renewable sources. It prides itself on sourcing over 121 Megawatts of energy from wind farms in Northern Ireland.
SSE Airtricity has two branches, one which sells electricity and the other selling gas.
SSE Airticity offers a standard rate for electricity, with a 20% discount when you switch and pay by direct debit, as well as opt for receiving bills by email. SSE Airtricity also offers Keypad electricity tariffs.
For gas tariffs, SSE Airtricity Gas offers two main options - a monthly Home Energy tariff and a Pay As You Go tariff. Much like the electricity, the gas supplied is all from natural sources. SSE Airtricity Gas also offers customers boiler servicing and upkeep by their professionals.
Firmus Energy is based Antrim, Northern Ireland and specialises in providing natural gas to homes and businesses.
It offers both monthly and pay-as-you-go tariffs, as well as options for online and offline meters. Customers can input their location in the Firmus Energy website to get the best tariff for them.
In trying to reduce oil dependency, Firmus Energy is currently offering £200 cashback until the end of March 2022 for new customers who switch from oil to natural gas.
Bright Energy is one of the smaller and newer energy providers in Northern Ireland, with just over 1,500 customers in the north. It launched in mid-2020.
Bright Energy offers two main standard monthly credit tariffs - the Bright Future 24hr, which is a fixed rate, and the Bright Future Economy 7, which comes with flexible charges for daytime, night time, and heating.
Customers can also opt for a Keypad meter if they prefer to top-up their energy. Top-ups can be done online or via the Bright Energy app.
There are three main Keypad Meter tariffs, the Bright Future 24hr, the Bright Future Economy 7, and the Bright Future Powershift. These are priced slightly differently to the monthly direct debit tariffs (despite sharing the same name) and all have the same standing charge.
The Bright Future 24hr tariff is a fixed rate, whereas the Bright Future Economy 7 and the Bright Future Powershift tariffs are flexible rates depending on the time of day..
The regulated market in Northern Ireland provides consumers with relatively stable prices while giving them a small level of competition. However, the UK's energy crisis has certainly had an effect on the Northern Ireland market, seeing prices for gas and electricity rise over the past few months.
Many households in Northern Ireland don’t have mains gas, with many homes relying on oil-fired boilers for their heating. The Northern Ireland Utility Regulator plans that 60% of homes and businesses will have gas by 2022 but, at the moment, there are only two domestic gas suppliers to choose from: Firmus Energy and SSE Airtricity Gas.
Customers in Greater Belfast can choose between the two, while customers in the Ten Towns area only have the option of Firmus Energy. In the West area, only around 500 households have a gas connection, though more customers are set to be connected.
Customers in Northern Ireland are more likely to have a prepayment or keypad meter than customers in Great Britain: 45% of you do (according to the Utility Regulator), compared with 16% of GB customers.
Our survey didn't include results from Northern Ireland, but it's always good to stay informed on energy companies and consider whether your provider is right for you.
If you think you need a cheaper deal, want to use sustainable power, or feel like your energy supplier isn't doing as much as it should be, switching may be the right choice for you.