Landmark year for firmus energy
Over the past 11 years, firmus energy has invested in excess of £110 million in its network enabling properties in more than 30 towns, cities and villages to connect to the advantages of natural gas. These include Derry~Londonderry, Coleraine, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Armagh, Limavady, Newry, Craigavon, Antrim, Banbridge and the surrounding areas.
To date, firmus energy has more than 80,000 residential and commercial customers across the province, with c.31,000 of these from areas new to natural gas and the remainder in Belfast who have chosen to switch to firmus energy from their previous supplier.
Michael Scott, Managing Director of firmus energy, explained: “As our logo states, we are ‘Taking Natural Gas Further’ and in doing so have built an extensive network across the province. We have now laid more than 1,000 km of natural gas pipeline bringing an additional fuel choice to thousands of properties. At least 90% of the major industrial users along the routes of our pipelines are now connected to natural gas, which indicates how integral the fuel now is to the economic landscape in Northern Ireland.
“Each year we connect upwards of 4,000 new customers to natural gas. We are always looking at opportunities to develop our network across Northern Ireland and work closely with the Utility Regulator and the Department for the Economy to increase the availability of natural gas and the significant environmental and economic returns it offers to those who switch.
“Last year marked a milestone connection as we were able to bring natural gas to our first customers in Co. Tyrone. This was through a £4m investment programme which has allowed firmus energy to bring a new fuel choice to around 1,500 homes and businesses in Moy, Benburb, Blackwatertown, Loughgall and Charlemont,” he added.
Despite the significant growth of firmus energy, customer service has always been and remains a top priority for the company.
“We know it is important that our customers experience a first class service at all times; not only from firmus energy employees but also from the third-party local engineers who install the natural gas heating systems. We have therefore introduced the ‘firmus energy Installer Charter’ which recognises natural gas engineers who meet our high standards and ensures that those who carry out installations in our customers’ homes and businesses offer a consistently high quality service. We were delighted to award this Charter to a number of skilled installers across Northern Ireland this year, offering further reassurance to local customers switching to natural gas.”
firmus energy now supplies over 58% of the natural gas consumed in Northern Ireland (excluding power generation stations) and as a result has displaced upwards of 670,000 tonnes of CO2.
Michael concluded: “We have a highly skilled, local workforce of around 100 people and remain committed to investing each year in the Northern Ireland economy by expanding our natural gas network into new areas. This in turn creates employment opportunities for around 300 local contractors, installers and support agencies. To date, we have invested more than £110 million in the gas infrastructure across Northern Ireland, with a further £120 million earmarked for the ongoing roll-out of the gas distribution networks in our licensed area over the next six years, making natural gas available to a further 70,000 properties.
“We have very exciting plans in the pipeline and look forward to continuing our sustained growth into 2017 and beyond.”