Northern Ireland electricity and gas
By Sarah Ingrams
Article 2 of 7
Airtricity is the second-largest energy supplier in Northern Ireland. It was the first company to set up in 2010, when switching supplier in Northern Ireland became possible.
Airtricity operates across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and is owned by Scottish-based energy company SSE.
It has just over 200,000 customers, which is a quarter of households in Northern Ireland. Airtricity supplies gas and electricity to households in Greater Belfast, but only electricity to households in the Ten Towns area.
Airtricity claims to be Northern Ireland's leading company for renewable energy generation, and it sources 60% of its electricity fuel mix from renewable energy. SSE is building Ireland’s largest wind farm, which will power 75,000 homes. It also says it invests in local community projects based around its wind farms.
Airtricity customer score
In the annual Which? energy customer survey – the biggest of its kind in the UK – Airtricity came bottom of energy suppliers in Northern Ireland for the second year in a row. We surveyed hundreds of members of the public in Northern Ireland to reveal what six energy providers' customers think of them, including Power NI and Electric Ireland.
SSE Airtricity customer
'Airtricity has always been very helpful any time I've had to ring.'
The table below shows the breakdown of Airtricity's score from our survey.
|SSE Airtricity 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. Responses from 89 SSE Airtricity customers.
Find out how Airtricity compares with other energy companies – see the full results of the Northern Ireland electricity and gas firms.
Which? verdict on Airtricity
Airtricity is the only energy supplier in Northern Ireland to score three stars in all ratings – customer service, value for money, bills and helping you save energy. No energy firm scored more than three stars for customer service or billing.
In our survey, customers were generally happy with Airtricity's billing. One customer said: 'I find my bills easy to read and know exactly how it is calculated.' Another said Airtricity's bills and website are 'straightforward'.
However, other customers are not convinced that they’re getting the best deal. One said: ‘I expect that other suppliers have cheaper prices.’
In our snapshot investigation in October 2017, it took SSE Airtricity Electric 1m56s on average to put us through to a human. SSE Airtricity Gas put us through slightly slower, in 2m19s on average. The fastest firm answered its customer services call in 29 seconds on average – find out which it was in the full results of our snapshot Northern Ireland call waiting investigation.
Pros: If you're interested in renewable energy, SSE Airtricity uses renewable energy in part and is building a wind farm.
Cons: It was rated lowest out of the six energy companies in Northern Ireland.
Airtricity fuel mix
Where SSE Airtricity gets its fuel (electricity and gas):
- 36.3% renewable
- 63.7% gas
- 0% coal
- 0% peat
- 1.1% oil.
(Information correct as of January 2017)
SSE Airtricity in the news
In October, SSE Airtricity raised its electricity prices by 7.5%, increasing the average customer’s bill by £35 per year. This was Airtrity’s first electricity price rise in four years and SSE director of home energy David Manning said the ‘decision […] is the result of increasing costs outside of our control’.
This followed a 7.6% gas price rise in March, after which customers saw a £36 average rise in their annual gas bill.
In January 2016, Airtricity announced a 1.3% decrease in its energy prices, taking effect from 1 April 2016.
In September 2015, Airtricity announced it was reducing its regulated natural gas prices by 10% from 1 October, saving a typical household customer £58 a year. This came after a tariff review initiated by the Utility Regulator due to falling wholesale costs. It followed an earlier 8% average price cut in April 2015.
Unlike , SSE Airtricity is not subject to price-control regulation for electricity.