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Northern Ireland electricity and gas

Northern Ireland electricity and gas

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Northern Ireland electricity and gas

Find the best Northern Ireland electricity and gas energy firm for you, based on the opinions of hundreds of Northern Ireland electricity and gas customers.

Our biggest ever annual energy companies survey brings you results for all seven Northern Ireland electricity and gas suppliers. 

You can find out what customers of Budget Energy, Click Energy, Electric Ireland, Firmus Energy, Power NI and SSE Airtricity electricity and gas really think of their energy company. Then you can use our results to find the best energy company for your home.

Small supplier Click Energy achieved the top spot in our table this year. The biggest electricity firm, Power NI sits second from last. But around 60% of electricity customers in Northern Ireland are supplied by the company – so is it time to switch supplier for a better service?

Keep reading to find out how your energy company compares, and which firm was fastest to pick up the phone in our undercover investigation. Or head straight to our in-depth reviews of Power NI.

Best and worst Northern Ireland electricity and gas companies

We asked 360 Northern Ireland energy customers to rate their electricity and gas supplier on its customer service, complaints handling, billing, whether they feel it’s value for money and if they think it helps them understand and reduce their energy use.

The full results are in the table below. Click each company’s name to read our expert review.

Northern Ireland energy companies rated
  Customer satisfaction Customer score
Position Company Bills (accuracy and clarity) Customer service on the phone Customer service online Dealing with complaints Helping you understand and reduce energy use Value for money  
1

 Click energy table

Click Energy

- - - - 84%
2   Budget-Energy small.logo 

Budget Energy

- - - - 68%
3  Electric Island table   

Electric Ireland

- - - - 64%
4

  SSE-logo-table

SSE Airtricity Electricity

60%
5

  SSE-logo-table

SSE Airtricity Gas

- - - - 58%
6   Power-NI small.logo 

Power NI

54%
7   Firmus-Energy-logo-table 

Firmus Energy

- - - - 48%

 

Table notes
The customer score combines customers’ overall satisfaction with their likelihood to recommend, and is not directly linked to the star ratings.
Overall average customer score: 60% for NI. This is weighted for the market share of each energy company.
(-) indicates too few responses to give a rating.
Sample sizes: Click Energy (31), Budget Energy (35), Electric Ireland (40), SSE Airtricity Electricity (76), SSE Airtricity Gas (39), Power NI (99), Firmus Energy (40). Survey September 2017.

Using the Which? Northern Ireland energy survey results

Energy companies are ranked in the table above based on their customer score. This is made up of customers’ responses when we asked them how satisfied they were overall with their provider and if they would recommend it to a friend.

The table also shows how the companies scored on specific criteria. So if great customer service or clear bills are most important to you, compare each company’s star ratings for these.

Or if getting the cheapest deal is your priority, see what other customers think of a firm’s value for money – and make sure you check its latest prices, too. You can use the Northern Ireland Consumer Council’s website to compare energy prices, and go direct to the energy company’s website to switch.

Click Energy tops the table this year, while last year’s top-scorer Electric Ireland is in third position this year. Click Energy’s customer score is 16 percentage points higher than the next company. It was also the only energy firm to be rated five stars on any aspect of service by its customers.

Gas-only supplier, Firmus Energy, brings up the rear and has the greatest proportion of customer rating it as very poor value for money.

Northern Ireland electricity and gas market

The regulated market in Northern Ireland provides consumers with relatively stable prices while giving them a small level of competition. Electricity prices are among the lowest in Europe, according to the Northern Ireland Utility Regulator.

Since the first competing supplier joined the domestic electricity market in 2010, five suppliers have challenged the incumbent Power NI and, collectively, they now have 40% of customers. The biggest of these is SSE Airtricity Electricity.

The majority of households in Northern Ireland (61%) have electricity only, according to our survey, although the number with mains gas is increasing. So most suppliers sell electricity only, with the exception of Firmus Energy (gas only) and SSE Airtricity Gas.

61% The majority of households in Northern Ireland have electricity only

Customers in Northern Ireland are more likely to have a prepayment or keypad meter than customers in Great Britain: 44% of you do, compared with 14% of GB customers.

Prepare for the damp and chilly months ahead with our electric heater reviews and dehumidifier reviews. Our test results reveal which are cheapest to run.

Our survey found that the number of people switching in Northern Ireland is lower compared with the rest of the UK, although switching is on the increase.

A quarter of respondents in Northern Ireland who haven’t switched say they think all suppliers are the same. But as our survey reveals, they’re not. Customers rated their suppliers between two and five stars for value for money.

But no supplier earned more than three stars from its customers for customer service. The best brands in Great Britain earned a full five stars – should you be expecting more from your supplier?

How long does your energy supplier keep you waiting on the phone?

Telephone is the most popular method to get hold of your energy company. More than eight in ten of you (84%) who have contacted your energy company in the past year told us you’d phoned it.*

So we conducted a snapshot investigation to reveal how long customers have to wait to have their phone calls answered by a human being, and how this compares with new customers calling energy companies’ sales lines.

In our latest investigation (September and October 2017), we phoned Northern Ireland energy companies’ customer services and sales lines (where available) 12 times each.

Click Energy was the fastest to answer our phone calls to its customer services line, in an average of 29 seconds. By contrast, the biggest energy firm, Power NI, took 4 minutes 15 seconds on average to answer our calls.
Power NI offers a call-back service for potential customers, so it has no score for sales call waiting time.

See the full results of our latest investigation into Northern Ireland energy company call waiting times, or see how firms in England, Scotland and Wales compare for call waiting.

*Based on the responses of 107 members of the general public in Northern Ireland who have contacted their energy firm in the past year. Survey conducted in September 2017.

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