firmus energy tariffs to increase by 17.75%

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

firmus energy has announced it will be increasing its gas prices by 17.75% in the Ten Towns area from 1 April 2021.

The Ten Towns area includes Antrim, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Coleraine, Craigavon (including Lurgan and Portadown), Limavady, Derry~Londonderry, Newry and more than 25 other towns and villages in the surrounding areas.

The typical firmus energy customer with a credit meter will see their bill rise by £78 to around £518 per year. Customers with a prepayment gas (PAYG) meter will see an increase by £74 to around £493 per year.

Michael Scott, Managing Director of firmus energy, said:

“We know that price stability is important for our customers but the increase of wholesale natural gas costs on the global market, which are beyond our control, have unfortunately made this increase inevitable.

“During 2020 the price of wholesale gas decreased dramatically on the world markets, leading to firmus energy being able to offer our lowest ever tariffs. Today’s announcement, while unwelcome, is a sign of the market readjusting after 2020 to more standard levels.

“Any increase is never welcome news and we recognise this comes at a particularly difficult time for many. We want to assure our customers that we will continue to monitor and review our tariffs to ensure customers are getting the best prices possible”.

“There is a clear ambition to reduce Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions in Northern Ireland. Every home converting from oil to natural gas benefits from an immediate CO2 reduction of 48%”.

firmus energy is a regulated business and the Utility Regulator has scrutinised firmus energy’s actual costs to supply gas to homes and businesses in the Ten Towns Network area. This announcement follows the ongoing tariff review process that is carried out by firmus energy and the Utility Regulator, in consultation with the Department for the Economy and the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland.

Customers seeking advice on their natural gas bills or direct debit payments should contact the firmus energy Customer Services team on 0330 024 9000. Anyone seeking information on connecting or switching to firmus energy natural gas can also go to www.firmusenergy.co.uk

For free and independent advice on how to save energy please contact NI Energy Advice Line on 0800 1422865.

Raymond Gormley, Interim Head of Energy at The Consumer Council said: “This is unwelcome news for around 51,000 of firmus energy’s customers and small businesses in the Ten Towns area across Northern Ireland, especially during a time when many are experiencing increasing pressures on their household budget. However, we are aware the main driver is the significant rise in the cost of wholesale gas globally over the last year.

“We work closely with the Utility Regulator to ensure consumers are protected and supported and that there are no unnecessary costs being added or additional profits being made by the supplier. Any consumers who are experiencing financial difficulty and are struggling to pay their energy bills should contact their supplier without delay to talk about how they can help during these times.”

firmus energy customers in Greater Belfast and in the West network area will not be impacted by this tariff change.

The Consumer Council recognises that energy costs are one of the biggest household expenses. Their website has a number of free resources including a Switch On: A Guide for Home Energy Users to help consumers be more energy efficient at home, get the best from their electricity or gas supply and save money. Consumers can also get in touch with The Consumer Council for free independent advice by calling FREEPHONE 0800 121 6022 or by emailing contact@consumercouncil.org.uk.

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