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Getting the best deal on your electricity

Last updated Jan 20, 2019

There are five home electricity suppliers in Northern Ireland – Budget Energy, Click Energy, Electric Ireland, Power NI, and SSE Airtricity.

The good news is the cost of electricity in Northern Ireland is among the lowest in Europe but tariffs are updated frequently, so we recommend you shop around at least once a year to get the best deal.

You can use our online comparison tool to compare tariffs available from all five suppliers. The service is free, independent, and we always try our best to ensure all tariffs are listed.

What information do I need to compare?

It’s best to dig out the name of your current supplier, tariff, payment method, and annual consumption. You can enter this information into our electricity price comparison tool to receive a personalised quote.

If you have a credit meter (you pay by bill) you should be able to find all of the required information by reviewing your recent bills.

If you have a prepayment meter you'll receive an annual statement once a year that confirms your tariff, payments, and consumption. Alternatively, you may be able to check your historical usage via your meter.

Tip: We recommend you look at your usage across a complete year as it's likely your winter bills will be higher than summer.

How does the switching process work?

Once you've identified a cheaper deal, if we're connected to the supplier, we'll help you switch by securely collecting all necessary information and initiating the switch. If we don't have them setup, you'll need to contact them direct to start the process.

As part of the sign-up process your new supplier may require a credit check to be passed or a security deposit to be paid.

Once you've confirmed your switch there's a 10-working day 'cooling off period' where you can cancel your order for any reason. After the cooling off period your switch will ordinarily be completed within 15 working days.

Don't worry — your electricity supply will continue as normal, and your new supplier will contact your old one to ensure you receive any final bill (bill paying customers only).

What should I consider when comparing tariffs?

  1. Look at the numbers:

    Electricity unit rate(s) – this is the price you pay for every unit of energy used, the lower the cost the better.

    Standing charge – some electricity suppliers have standing charges. This is a daily fee charged to cover the suppliers distribution and maintenance costs. The lower the better.

    Consider promotions and discounts – you may eligible for savings by:

    • Opting for online/paperless billing over paper bills
    • Paying by preferred payment method, for example monthly direct debit
    • Looking out for a supplier with a welcome/switching credit promotion

    Remember, terms will apply to discounts and promotions.

    Our price comparison tool, provides an easy way to help you estimate your annual costs.

  2. Confirm if the tariff has a minimum term. Some suppliers will offer better unit rates if you commit to a minimum length of 12 months. If you do decide to switch early, you may need to pay an exit fee.
  3. Check how you can pay, and how frequently payments need to be made.
  4. Consider how your supplier measures up on customer service ratings (see below).

Customer service ratings

The Consumer Council — the public body tasked with promoting and safeguarding the interests of consumers within Northern Ireland — conducts a customer satisfaction survey every six months.

According to the Consumers Council's most recent survey, Budget Energy is the supplier customers are most satisfied with and Electric Ireland are the most recommended supplier.

Electricity Supplier% Satisfied% Recommended
Budget Energy84%69%
Click Energy55%*32%*
Electric Ireland76%67%
Power NI67%57%
SSE Airtricity77%63%

*Click Energy: Low sample base – please consider as indicative only.

Source: Consumer Council, Electricity Suppliers: Customer Satisfaction Survey October 2018