East Belfast Ulster Unionist MLA Andy Allen MBE has called for Stormont and Westminster to explore ways of helping consumers affected by the announcement of major increases in household energy costs.
Mr Allen said:
“I am shocked and concerned by the announcement that more than 235,000 SSE Airtricity and Firmus energy customers across Northern Ireland face an astounding increase of 21.8% and 35% respectively in the cost of heating their homes this winter, as a result of a rise in wholesale energy costs.
“These increases will have a profound impact for many households across Northern Ireland who already find it almost impossible to balance their household budgets. I am therefore calling on the Executive to urgently review what, if any, support can be given from Stormont to help those impacted by this heating hike. I am also calling on The Executive Office to urgently raise this with the Chancellor at Westminster and to identify solutions, whether that includes increasing the amount and amending eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment, reversing the decision to remove the £20/week uplift in Universal Credit or other options to support those most affected.
“Many across society have suffered greatly over the last 18 months and we must do all we can to support them and prevent them from having to make the totally unacceptable choice between heating and eating.”