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 when switching supplier in Northern Ireland became possible in 2010.
There are two companies under the Airtricity umbrella: Airtricity Electricity and Airtricity Gas.
SSE sources its renewable energy from 28 SSE wind farms across the island of Ireland and claims that over 43% of the electricity it offers to customers is generated from renewable sources. The SSE Airtricity Community Fund supports communities around each of the 28 wind farms and, to date, has provided over £3 million of funding for local activities and projects with a focus on energy efficiency and sustainability.
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.
Over 8,000 people took part in our latest energy survey, which allowed us to rank six energy companies in Northern Ireland for customer score.
SSE Airtricity Electricity finished with a customer score of 62%, cementing its position at the very bottom of our table. It wasn't alone, though – Budget Energy also finished with the same underwhelming customer score.
The customer service agents don’t really know how to deal with a problem.
I have never had a problem with SSE Airtricity and am happy to continue with them, unless I find a cheaper alternative.
The graphic below shows the breakdown of SSE Airtricity Electricity's score from our survey.
SSE Airtricity Electricity finished joint last in our energy survey measuring customer score. Four other Northern Ireland energy firms outperformed it – Electric Ireland, SSE Airtricity Gas, Power NI and Firmus Energy.
Despite sitting at the bottom of our table, the majority of SSE Airtricity Electricity customers we quizzed were satisfied with the accuracy of their bills. The energy supplier scored four stars for bill accuracy.
They offer clear pricing.
It seems correct when compared with other providers.
Bill accuracy aside, SSE Airtricity Electricity scored average marks in our latest energy supplier survey. It has a three-star rating for bill clarity. Although few customers doubt the numbers on their bill, understanding cost breakdowns can be confusing at times.
After tallying up the responses to our survey, SSE Airtricity Electricity scored another three stars for customer service. It was a mixed bag – while some customers said they'd never had any problems dealing with the company, others told us their queries took too long to resolve over the phone.
In the past, they have dealt with my concerns efficiently.
I spoke to a customer service adviser online who assured me that my query was resolved, but when I received my bill for that month, it hadn't been resolved.
The company's work on dealing with customer complains earned it another three-star rating. Interestingly, although four other Northern Ireland energy firms scored higher for customer score, they also finished with three-star ratings for dealing with complaints.
Once again, responses were mixed when value for money came up. We heard from a number of satisfied customers that complimented a service offering 'great value'. Another respondent said the firm was 'by far the cheapest' in their area and 'completely reliable to date.' However, One survey respondent said that 'tariffs are too high from everyone'.
Pros: Majority of customers happy with bill accuracy; 100% green energy
Cons: All other Northern Ireland energy firms in our survey have a better customer score
Finishing with a customer score of 65%, SSE Airtricity Gas outscored SSE Airtricity Electricity. It sits in third place in our table, beaten narrowly by Power NI and Firmus Energy.
Any time I have contacted SSE they have been excellent – very helpful, polite and professional.
It wasn't straightforward to set up my account. It took a couple of lengthy phone calls.
The graphic below shows the breakdown of SSE Airtricity Gas' score from our survey.
SSE Airtricity Gas scored four stars for bill accuracy in our survey. Most of the respondents that left comments on bill accuracy were satisfied with the service they were receiving.
I've never had any issues with [bill accuracy]
No errors have ever been made.
Like the electricity branch of the company, SSE Airtricity Gas scored three stars for bill clarity, suggesting there is still room for improvement. One customer told us their latest bill was 'very complicated'. Another customer told us that they 'have to trust it's right' as they wouldn't know how to check properly themselves.
Not everybody we heard from had an issue with bill clarity, through. One respondent told us they've 'never had a problem' and another said their bill is 'plain and simple'.
Customers have deemed SSE Airtricity Gas worthy of a 3-star rating for customer service. A number of people told us that they had to endure some lengthy phone calls with the energy supplier.
They take too long to answer the phone.
I haven't had any difficulty with customer service.
SSE Airtricity Gas scores three stars for dealing with complaints and value for money. One customer referred to the company as 'reasonable' and another said 'I had a good contact when I had a problem'.
Opinions were mixed on value for money. We received comments including 'I'd rather it was cheaper' and 'I think they are expensive', showing that some customers would be open to switching to a more affordable supplier. But we also had some positive feedback with comments including 'the bills are reasonable' and '[SSE Airtricity Gas] is on par with other suppliers'.
Pros: 100% green energy; mostly accurate bills according to our survey
Cons: Some customers don't feel like they're getting value for money
June: The company confirmed it would reduce its electricity prices by 5.1%, 'saving a typical household customer with a standard credit meter £32.60 annually.'
March: SSE Airtricity Gas announced plans to decrease its prices by 18.7% from April following a fall in wholesale prices.
October: SSE Airtricity raised its electricity prices by 6.9% in October 2019, increasing the average customer’s bill by 75p a week.
October: 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.'