HomeBussinessElectricity company withdraws from NI domestic market with message to customers

Electricity company withdraws from NI domestic market with message to customers

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A spokesperson said existing customers “do not need to take any action” and will be contacted in due course

The company is the third-largest supplier in Northern Ireland, with over 50,000 domestic customers.

In a statement, the Irish-owned company said: “Electric Ireland has completed a strategic review of our residential business in Northern Ireland.

“As a result of this review, we will be focusing exclusively on the business market and, over time, our intention is to no longer serve the residential market.

“Electric Ireland will continue to supply and support our residential customers during this transition.”

The company has not provided a timescale for the process though a spokesman for the firm, which is owned by ESB Group, said: “Electric Ireland will engage directly with customers in the coming weeks and months.”

He said the firm would be working with other parties including the Utility Regulator, and with its residential customers, to take a “managed approach”.

“During the process, Electric Ireland will continue to supply our c53,000 residential customers, equating to c6% of the market.

“We understand and appreciate that this news may be unsettling for some customers and so it is important to stress that there is no immediate change.

“There will be no interruption in supply to Electric Ireland customers and they do not need to take any action. Electric Ireland will contact them directly in due course.”

Electric Ireland accounts for around 35% of the business market in Northern Ireland.

The spokesman added: “Electric Ireland’s staff supporting residential customers in Northern Ireland have been briefed and there are no immediate job losses planned.

“We will continue to engage with and support staff and customers throughout this transition.”

Power NI and SSE Airtricity are the first and second-biggest suppliers of electricity respectively to the domestic market here.

A spokesperson for the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland said: “The Consumer Council will continue to work with Electric Ireland and the Utility Regulator to ensure that its customers are not negatively impacted and that a smooth exit process occurs.

“Electric Ireland customers will not be impacted at this time. Customers will continue to receive their electricity supply as normal, and they will remain Electric Ireland customers until further notice.

“There is no need for customers to contact Electric Ireland at this stage. Electric Ireland will engage with their customers directly to inform them of their decision to stop supplying domestic electricity in Northern Ireland, and explain what options are available to impacted customers.”

Barbara Cantley, interim director of consumer protection and enforcement at the Utility Regulator, confirmed it was working with Electric Ireland following its “commercial” decision. “There will be no interruption to customers’ electricity supply, and we will continue to ensure that they are protected.

“Electric Ireland customers do not need to take any action at present. The company will be engaging with them directly to guide them through the next steps of the process.”

Electric Ireland is the first supplier to leave part or all of the Northern Ireland supply market since 2021, when Bright Energy made its exit in response to rising energy prices.

Speaking at the time, the Utility Regulator said a process known as ‘supplier of last resort’ was in place to ensure customers do not lose supply if a company leaves the market.

Under that process, all customers were transferred to Power NI, the main supplier here.

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