Northern Ireland electricity and gas
By Sarah Ingrams
Article 2 of 6
Airtricity is the second-largest energy supplier in Northern Ireland. SSE Airtricity runs both Airtricity Electricity and Airtricity Gas.
Airtricity operates across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and is owned by Scottish-based energy company SSE. It was the first company to set up in 2010, when switching supplier in Northern Ireland became possible.
There are two companies under the Airtricity umbrella: Airtricity Electricity and Airtricity Gas.
It has around 350,000 customers, which is around a quarter of households in Northern Ireland. The company 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 34.1% of its electricity fuel mix from renewable energy. SSE built Ireland's largest wind farm, which helps to power 75,000 homes. It also says it has invested more than £1.5m to local community projects based around its wind farms.
Our annual energy companies satisfaction survey is based on the opinions of almost 500 energy customers in Northern Ireland. As Airtricity supplies gas and electricity separately, we asked customers to rate them separately, too.
Keep reading for our full SSE Aitricity Electricity review. Or jump straight to our Airtricity Gas review.
SSE Airtricity Electricity customer score
Airtricity Electricity came bottom of the table for energy suppliers in Northern Ireland in our annual Which? energy companies customer satisfaction survey. In contrast Electric Ireland came out top, with customers praising its value for money and clear bills.
SSE Airtricity Electricity score breakdown
Below we show the breakdown of Airtricity Electricity's score from our survey. Keep reading to find out what goes into its fuel mix, and look at our verdict to help you decide if Airtricity is the supplier for you.
Find out how Airtricity Electricity compares with other energy companies – see the full results of the Northern Irish electricity and gas firms.
Which? verdict on SSE Airtricity Electricity
Although Airtricity Electricity is at the bottom of the table for overall customer score, it still gets a good rating for billing accuracy.
It scored four out of five stars in this area – the same as all other NI providers – with 82% of customers saying accuracy was good or excellent.
Customers were also generally satisfied with how Airtricity deals with complaints, with 29% of respondents calling it 'fair'. However, customers of the other NI suppliers we rated this year tend to say that their company is better at handling complaints, with most rating it either 'good' or 'excellent'.
The provider was let down by value for money, customer service, digital tools and bill clarity – scoring just three out of a possible five stars in all these areas.
SSE Airtricity raised its electricity prices by 6.9% in October 2019, increasing the average customer’s bill by 75p a week.
One customer said: 'The costs seem to just increase and increase', while another stated: 'It promised cheaper prices, but mine have almost doubled, with three price rises within a year. I am disgusted'.
Pros: If you're interested in renewable energy, SSE Airtricity uses renewable sources in part, and is building a wind farm
Cons: Price increases have meant higher bills
Airtricity electricity sources
SSE Airtricity Gas customer score
SSE Airtricity Gas is joint fourth in the table (alongside Firmus Energy) out of the six energy companies rated in Northern Ireland, just above Airtricity Electricity.
SSE Airtricity Gas score breakdown
Below we show the breakdown of Airtricity Gas's score from our survey. Keep reading for our verdict, including whether its customers think it offers value for money, and what they think of its bills.
Find out how Airtricity Gas compares with other energy companies – see the full results of the Northern Irish electricity and gas firms.
Which? verdict on SSE Airtricity Gas
SSE Airtricity is the leading provider of natural gas in Northern Ireland, supplying customers in the Greater Belfast area, Ten Towns network and West network.
Airtricity Gas sits in the bottom half of the table, scoring 62% overall. Customers were most happy with the accuracy of its bills, for which it scored four out of five stars.
In all other areas in the survey, it received three stars out of five. Customers seemed generally satisfied with its digital tools, bill clarity and how it deals with complaints. Some commented that 'the billing is clear and easy to understand', while another said they'd 'never had a reason to complain'.
However, customer service and value for money stood out as problem areas for the energy provider. 15% of respondents said its value for money was 'poor' or 'very poor', with one customer saying that 'the gas is too expensive' and another telling us that the company 'has price increases frequently'.
Pros: Customers feel happy with the billing accuracy and overall service
Cons: Customers don't feel like they're getting value for money
SSE Airtricity Electricity and SSE Airtricity Gas in the news
SSE Airtricity raised its electricity prices by a staggering 18.2% in the Greater Belfast area, increasing the average customer's bill by £1.66 a week.
The company also raised its gas prices by 10.9%.
Jenny Pyper, the utility regulator's chief executive, said: 'The main reason for this increase is due to the significant rise in global gas costs since the tariff was last set earlier this year in April.'