Patsy McGlone MLA for Mid Ulster

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Assembly Questions

Patsy McGlone 21st August 2017

McGlone: Electricity price hike will hurt business and households

SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has warned that a price hike of 5.6% on residential electricity prices by Power NI will disproportionately affect hard pressed households. The Mid Ulster MLA added that an increase of 6% on commercial prices would hurt small businesses that are already under financial pressure.

Mr McGlone said, “Any increase in electricity prices has a disproportionate impact on those already struggling to make ends meet. A rise in the order of 5.6% will find hard-pressed households across Northern Ireland struggling to meet their increased energy costs.

“There are fundamental questions to ask about energy pricing, both for domestic and commercial purposes. In the context of broad wage stagnation for those on lower pay bands, an ongoing cap on public sector pay and a freeze on welfare support, this is a significant adverse cost to be shouldered by those least able to take further financial strain.

“There’s no doubt that this increase will also slow growth as small businesses, the backbone of our economy, will find it difficult to absorb an additional burden that further shrinks margins.

“The continued absence of an Executive and no Assembly in which to raise these questions makes it more difficult than ever to hold energy companies to account for their pricing policies and arbitrary price hikes.

“The parties blocking the restoration of the Executive will eventually have to explain their continued opposition to the return of those hard-won local democratic structures.”