Electricity

There are currently five domestic electricity suppliers in Northern Ireland. 

The Consumer Council has produced guidance explaining how to switch your electricity supplier.  You can also use our electricity price and service comparison tool.

If you would prefer to speak to one of our team who can guide you through the process, telephone The Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022.

How you are protected

  • The electricity industry is regulated by government, which means that each supplier has to work to rules set out in its licence;
  • Companies are also required to set standards of performance, (e.g. about how they respond to complaints and enquiries) and social obligations, (e.g. the services they provide for older people; sick or disabled people);
  • The Utility Regulator has a duty to make sure that suppliers keep to the rules set out in their licence;
  • The Consumer Council is an independent body which represents and protects the interests of energy consumers, and has the legal power to investigate complaints on your behalf; and
  • NICEIC is the industry’s independent, non-profit making and voluntary regulatory body covering the whole of the UK. Their purpose is to protect consumers from unsafe electrical work. They maintain a Roll of Approved Contractors who are assessed every year to check their work meets the national safety standard BS 7671, and other relevant technical standards.

Power Cuts

Be prepared for a power cut:

  • Know where your household fuses and trip switches are.
  • Test smoke alarms regularly and fit new batteries in torches and radios (for checking updates on news bulletins). You can also use your car radio.
  • If you have a baby at home, make sure you have a supply of formula milk, if used, and prepare a flask of hot water to prepare and heat bottles and baby food.

Customer Care Registers

All gas suppliers in Northern Ireland must keep a Customer Care Register with the details and special needs of customers who are of pensionable age, disabled (by virtue of being blind, partially sighted, deaf or hearing impaired) or chronically sick.  Suppliers can provide free assistance and services to customers who register their details with them. These services include bills in different formats such as large print or Braille and password schemes to help identify representatives from a service provider. A list of the service provided by all suppliers is available here.

NIE Networks Critical Care Register

The NIE Networks Critical Care Register is for customers who rely on electricity for life saving equipment. This includes medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators, nebulisers, patient vital signs monitoring systems and home dialysis. Once on the list, NIE will treat you as a priority during a power cut and will provide you with the most up to date information, including when they expect a fault to be fixed. This will allow you to make alternative arrangements during the power cut.

You can also nominate a carer or relative for NIE to contact during a power cut. NIE will also tell you about any planned interruptions to your electricity supply at least three days in advance, including how long the interruption is expected to last, and will keep you informed of any changes during the interruption.

For more information or to register contact 08457 643 643.

Insurance

Householders should make sure their home and contents insurance covers severe weather conditions.

  1. Read your policy to see how you are covered. If you are not, contact your insurance company and amend your policy or shop around for a new policy.
  2. If you cannot find your policy, then contact your insurance provider who will send you another copy or advise you on what your policy covers.

If you have a complaint about how your insurance company is dealing with your claim, tell the company first. This will allow them the opportunity to put things right. If you are still unhappy, contact the Financial Ombudsman Service on 0800 023 4567 or 0300 123 9123 or visit www.financial-ombudsman.org.

How to complain

For failure of supply, details about new electricity supply or alterations to lines or equipment call NIE on 08457 643 643.

Note: Regardless of which electricity supplier you use, NIE will still be responsible for delivering electricity to homes and businesses.

  • If you feel that your supplier has treated you unfairly or has not given you the standard of service you’re entitled to, get in touch with them at the address and telephone number shown on your bill.
  • If your supplier is unable to resolve the matter, you should contact The Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022 or by email: [email protected] for advice.