Proposed price rises to electricity bills in Northern Ireland are set to be limited by the UK's Competition Commission.
Northern Ireland Electricity, which operates and maintains the network, had wanted to add about £25 (€29.80) a year to the average consumer bill for the next five years to pay for infrastructure improvements, but the commission has made a provisional determination that it can only charge £5 (€5.90) extra per year.
NIE charges account for around 20-25% of customers’ total bills, with the remainder representing the price charged by the electricity suppliers.
The matter was referred to the commission after NIE rejected Northern Ireland’s Utility Regulator’s bid to limit its price rises.
The commission said its provisional determination was designed to keep price increases to customers down while maintaining the reliability of supply.
It will be inviting public responses to its determination before it publishes its final conclusions next year.
Professor Martin Cave, the commission’s deputy chairman, said: “The interests of all electricity customers have been at the forefront of our minds in making this provisional determination.”