As a result of substantial rises in global wholesale gas prices, firmus energy has announced today [08 September 2021] that natural gas tariffs in the Ten Towns Network area will increase by 35.15% from the 1st October 2021.
The change in tariff will mean an extra £3.33 per week1 on to the average household bill, bringing prices back to 2018/2019 levels. Since the start of April 2021, global gas commodity prices have increased by 170%2. Throughout 2019 and 2020 firmus energy was able to cut its prices, totalling 37%, leading to historic low tariffs.
The Ten Towns Network 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.
Michael Scott, Managing Director of firmus energy, said:
“We are very sorry to have to make this announcement as the last thing we want is to have to increase our prices. However, given the massive increases in the cost of purchasing natural gas on the global markets, it is simply unavoidable, as these costs are totally beyond our control.
“With the world starting to reopen again, following the Covid-19 restrictions, this is leading to increased demand for natural gas and that has been driving the prices up at alarming rates. As normality returns, we expect prices to begin to stabilise again.
“Any increase is never welcome, and we know this will come at a particularly difficult time for many. Although we understand that gas prices across the UK and Ireland are likely to increase due to the global fluctuations, we appreciate this will be of little comfort to our customers.
“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. As soon as we can lower our prices again, we will do so without delay”.
“We are fully committed to working with consumer bodies to best support our customers, especially in the forthcoming winter months”.
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. Our telephone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For free and independent advice on how to save energy please contact NI Energy Advice Line on 0800 111 4455.
Customers in the Greater Belfast area will not be impacted by today’s announcement, although an announcement regarding tariffs in this area is expected in the coming weeks.
- 1This is based on typical Medium Home Consumption Value of 12,000kWh per year as published by OFGEM. £3.33 is based on a typical firmus energy network home PAYG customer. A typical firmus energy network home credit customer will increase by £3.51 per week.
- 2Based on within day nbp gas commodity costs on 1 April 2021 versus 6th September 2021.
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Notes to editors:
firmus energy is a natural gas distribution and supply company, based in Antrim. Since 2005, firmus energy has connected over 50,000 customers in its network area (outside Greater Belfast) and supplies natural gas to over 108,000 across Northern Ireland.
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.
This tariff announcement does not apply to the Greater Belfast or West network areas.
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”. (assumes conversion from an inefficient oil boiler to an efficient gas boiler system and assumes average annual usage)