Gas prices are set to drop for customers in a large portion of Northern Ireland, it has been announced.
Firmus Energy has announced a reduction of 8.77% in their regulated domestic gas tarriffs in the Ten Towns area — a large swathe of Northern Ireland that takes in Londonderry, Limavady, Coleraine (including Portstewart and Bushmills), Ballymoney, Ballymena (Broughshane), Antrim (including Ballyclare and Templepatrick), Craigavon (including Portadown and Lurgan), Banbridge, Newry (Warrenpoint) and Armagh (Tandragee).
The Utility Regulator has welcomed the news.
Utility Regulator Chief Executive, Jenny Pyper said: “This announcement of a reduction to firmus energy’s regulated gas prices in the Ten Towns area is great news for their customers. There are a variety of reasons for this decrease, including a significant increase in customers connecting to gas in the Ten Towns area which represents a growth in demand, and a fall in the cost of wholesale gas purchased by firmus energy.
“While we do not price regulate firmus energy’s tariff in the Greater Belfast area, their 8.77% reduction announced today is added good news for consumers. This brings their tariff in the Greater Belfast area broadly in line with SSE Airtricity Gas Supply’s regulated tariff in Greater Belfast, which has remained unchanged at this time.”
The Utility chief continued: “Significantly, this reduction means that firmus energy customers are continuing to benefit from amongst the lowest gas standard tariffs in the UK and RoI.
“The review of firmus energy’s tariff has involved a thorough analysis of all their cost elements. Our system of regulation ensures that regulated tariffs always reflect the actual costs of supply to consumers. As ever, we will continue to keep the tariff under review.
“This tariff announcement marks the conclusion of a review undertaken by the Utility Regulator and firmus energy, in consultation with the Department for the Economy and the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland.”
Paulino Garcia, Head of Energy Policy at The Consumer Council said, “It is important that consumers in Northern Ireland can trust the energy market and believe that they are paying a fair price for the service they receive. We welcome this decrease and we would like to see other gas suppliers follow suit. This is especially pertinent since the Naturgy Monthly Energy Review and Forecast report published this week showed that wholesale gas prices have fallen by 55% over the last 12 months.
“This is the first natural gas decrease in three years and will benefit around 95,000 gas consumers, especially those in vulnerable circumstances. Consumers will see a reduction of £61 in the typical annual gas bill in Ten Towns and a fall of £54 in Greater Belfast. This is especially relevant as the discretionary income of Northern Ireland households is £100 per week lower than in the rest of the UK.”