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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 annual energy companies survey brings you results for six of the seven Northern Ireland electricity and gas suppliers. 

You can find out what customers of Budget 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.

Smaller suppliers Budget Energy and Electric Ireland jointly achieved the top spot in our table this year. The biggest electricity firm, Power NI ranks beneath them. Around 58% of electricity customers in Northern Ireland are supplied by this company. Plus SSE Airtricity is the second-biggest electricity supplier but is the lowest-ranked supplier in our table – so is it time to switch supplier for a better service?

Keep reading to find out how your energy company compares. Or head straight to our in-depth review of Power NI.

Best and worst Northern Ireland electricity and gas companies

We asked 499 Northern Ireland energy customers to rate their electricity and gas suppliers on their customer service, complaints handling, billing, whether they feel it’s value for money and if they think the firm 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 Bill accuracy Customer service on the phone Customer service online Dealing with complaints Helping you understand and reduce energy use Value for money  
1

 Budget Energy

- 67%
=  Electric Ireland - 67%
3 SSE Airtricity Gas - 62%
4

Power NI

61%
5

Firmus Energy

- - - - - 60%
6    SSE Airtricity Electricity 57%

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: 62% for NI. This is weighted for the market share of each energy company.
(-) indicates too few responses to give a rating.
Sample sizes: Budget Energy (48), Electric Ireland (63), SSE Airtricity Gas (71), Power NI (128), Firmus Energy (39), SSE Airtricity Electricity (130) . Survey September 2018.

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.

We've also revealed 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.

Budget Energy and Electric Ireland

Top of the table this year are Budget Energy and Electric Ireland. Both score four stars for value for money and are the only two firms to do so, showing that customers are happier with their energy firm when they feel they’re getting a good deal.

SSE Airtricity Electricity brings up the rear this year. Though its star ratings for each measure are the same as higher-ranked suppliers, it had the smallest proportion of customers rating it excellent or good for helping customers understand and reduce their energy use.

Click Energy doesn’t feature in our results table this year because we didn’t receive enough responses from its customers to give it a score. Last year it was the top-scorer in our satisfaction survey.

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, and cheaper than in the Republic of Ireland, 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 just over 40% of customers. The biggest of these is SSE Airtricity Electricity. Four of these are currently selling electricity; Open Electric went bust in 2017.

The majority of households in Northern Ireland (53%) have electricity only, according to our survey, although the number with mains gas is increasing. Most suppliers sell electricity only, with the exception of Firmus Energy and SSE Airtricity Gas which sell only gas.

53%More than half 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 (according to the Utility Regulator), compared with 16% 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 and so there's no point in switching. But as our survey reveals, they’re not. Customers of the highest-ranked firms are more positive about the value for money they’re getting and more satisfied overall.

But no supplier earned the full five stars from its customers on any aspect of service. The best brands in Great Britain earned a five stars across the board – should you be expecting more from your supplier?

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