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Watchdog welcomes 21% reduction in gas tariffs by Firmus in Northern Ireland


Consumer Council  chief executive Jenny Pyper

Consumer Council chief executive Jenny Pyper

Consumer Council chief executive Jenny Pyper

GAS supplier Firmus Energy has announced a 21% drop in its tariffs, in a move which will benefit around 50,000 homes and small businesses.

Customers in the company’s so-called ‘Ten Towns’ will now pay almost 30% less for their gas this summer, compared to 2019.

The Ten Towns area covers Antrim, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Coleraine, Craigavon, Londonderry, Limavady and Portstewart.

The fall comes after a drop in wholesale gas prices — with electricity suppliers tipped to follow with their own price cuts.

The latest reduction comes into force at the start of next month and means a cut in bills of around £135 a year. Firmus also cut prices last October. Its managing director Michael Scott said: “We are delighted to be able to drop our natural gas prices again. This is more good news for customers in our Ten Towns network area and is particularly welcome against a backdrop of increased living costs.

“This saving follows on from a previous reduction of 8.77% in October last year and means that natural gas is now almost 30% cheaper than last summer.”

The price cut was announced following discussions with the Consumer Council and the Utility Regulator, which scrutinises energy prices in Northern Ireland.

Jenny Pyper, the watchdog’s chief executive, described the reduction as “great news” for customers.

“The main reason for this change is a significant decrease in wholesale gas costs. Two other factors that have impacted on the tariff are an over recovery from the current tariff that is being returned to customers and a decrease in the Ten Towns distribution costs,” she said.

“In relation to electricity, we have begun a review with Power NI regarding their domestic regulated tariffs and expect an announcement in the coming months.

“Whilst we can’t pre-empt the outcome, given the falls being seen in wholesale prices, I would be hopeful of a positive outcome for electricity consumers before the summer.”

The Consumer Council also welcomed the price fall, saying it was the biggest decrease in the history of the Ten Towns supply by Firmus. Paulino Garcia, its head of energy policy, said the drop would be particularly welcome to vulnerable customers.

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