Towns outside Belfast to pay 17% more for gas
Towns outside Belfast will be paying 17% more for gas prices following Firmus Energy's tariff hike next month.
Ten Town areas include Craigavon, Antrim, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Coleraine, Limavady, Derry/Londonderry and Newry.
Firmus Energy is to increase gas prices by 12% in the Ten Towns area from 1 October 2018. The Consumer Council has branded the increase ‘unwelcome’ and called for more gas licence holders to enter the market so create more competition.
The council is urging the 38,000 natural gas domestic and business customers to consider ways to save on household energy bills.
An annual bill for a typical Firmus Energy customer in the Ten Towns areas using 12,000 kWh on a Pay As You Go meter will increase from £594 to £666, an increase of £72. Whereas the annual bill for a typical Firmus Energy customer in the Greater Belfast area using 12,000 kWh on a Pay As You Go meter will increase from £539 to £604, an increase of £65.
Gas prices in Ten Towns will be around 17% more expensive than Belfast, based on SSE Airtricity’s Pay As You Go tariff.
“This is a further blow for consumers following recent electricity tariff increases by the three largest electricity suppliers in Northern Ireland,” said a NI Consumer Council spokesperson.
Richard Williams, Head of Energy Policy at The Consumer Council, said: “This is unwelcome news for Firmus Energy customers, following a 6.8% increase in the Ten Towns area earlier this year. However, we are aware the main driver is the significant rise in global gas costs since the tariff was last set in April. From 1 October, the annual bill for a typical Firmus Energy customer in Ten Towns will increase by £72 a year to £666. It is the sole supplier of gas in the Ten Towns. We would like to see other gas licence holders enter the market so that consumers there can benefit from competition.”