Firmus Energy to hike gas prices by 12%
Gas supplier Firmus Energy is set to hit all 87,000 of its customers in Northern Ireland with a 12% hike from the beginning of next month, adding up to £75/year to a typical bill.
Over 38,000 customers living in the regulated Ten Towns area will see their bills increase from Monday 1 October, adding £75/yr to a typical household bill – with no option to switch.
Northern Ireland's Utility Regulator, which oversees domestic charges in the Ten Towns area, agreed to the new prices, blaming the hikes on a rise in the wholesale cost of gas in the global market and increases in the cost of transporting natural gas.
A further 49,000 customers in the Greater Belfast area will be hit with a £65/yr increase from Thursday 4 October. Although there is the option to switch to SSE Airtricity, it has also just hiked gas prices by 11% so the savings would stand at about £35/yr on average.
Though switching options are limited, you can get a discount with Firmus by paying by direct debit. Customers in the Greater Belfast area can get a further discount by managing their account online.
For more information, see our Cheap Northern Ireland Energy guide.
'Price increases are always unwelcome'
The Utility Regulator’s chief executive Jenny Pyper said: "We do understand that price increases are always unwelcome and so we act on behalf of consumers to ensure any changes to the tariff are fully justified. We have thoroughly scrutinised Firmus Energy's actual costs to supply gas to homes and small businesses in the Ten Towns area."
Michael Scott, managing director of Firmus Energy, said: "We know that price stability is important for our customers and regrettably this increase is unavoidable. Firmus Energy continually monitors and reviews its tariffs to ensure customers are getting the best prices possible.
"Our pricing team has engaged extensively with the Utility Regulator, the Department for the Economy and the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland in relation to our regulated tariff in the Ten Towns licensed area."