Northern Irish energy firms agree to help struggling homes

Suppliers will halve what can be taken away from a customer’s purchase of electricity or gas to cut debts

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Northern Ireland’s energy companies have voluntarily signed a new agreement to help struggling households with their bills.

It has been developed with the Consumer Council and Utility Regulator, with key changes to debt repayment conditions for pre-payments.

Suppliers can currently take 40% away from a customer’s purchase of electricity or gas to cut debts – this will halve to 20% under the new agreement.

Households will also not be moved onto a pre-payment meter during Christmas without their explicit request.

Consumer Council Director of Infrastructure and Sustainability, Peter McClenaghan, said: “[We] welcome the voluntary agreement of local suppliers to put in place this extra support this winter.

“We will support suppliers to ensure these tangible, beneficial and measurable commitments to their customers are delivered and will continue to work closely with the Utility Regulator to enhance consumer protection.”