Belfast Telegraph

Firmus to hike gas prices for the second time in 2018

By Ryan McAleer

Firmus Energy is to increase gas prices for the second time this year.

The company will charge its 87,000 customers an extra 12% over October 1-4, adding £70 a year to the average bill.

It comes just six months after Firmus increased prices by 8.8% for its 49,000 customers in Belfast and 6.8% for its other 38,000, spread across an area it calls Ten Towns.

It includes Antrim, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Coleraine, Craigavon, Limavady, Londonderry and Newry. It also includes more than 20 surrounding towns and villages.

The latest hike comes just one week after SSE Airtricity announced an 11% increase in gas prices for both domestic and small business users in the Greater Belfast area. Like SSE, Firmus have pointed to the rise in the wholesale cost of gas in the global market and increases in the cost of transporting natural gas in Northern Ireland.

Letters are being sent to bill payers advising them of the increase. For customers in the Ten Towns area, the typical household bill will rise by £6.25 per month, equivalent to £75 a year from October 1.

The typical household bill in the Greater Belfast area will increase £5.47 per month, equivalent to £65 a year from October 4.

Firmus said the increase for the Ten Towns area has been approved by the Utility Regulator.

Firmus managing director Michael Scott 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," he said.

The Greater Belfast area includes Lisburn, Bangor, Newtownards, Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus and others.

Belfast Telegraph

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.