firmus energy today announced it will be increasing its gas prices by 17.75% in the Ten Towns area, which includes Derry, from April 1.
According to the Consumer Council, the typical firmus energy customer with a credit meter will see their bill rise by £78 to around £518 per year as a result of the rise.
Customers with a prepayment gas (PAYG) meter will see an increase by £74 to around £493 per year.
Michael Scott, Managing Director of firmus energy, said: “We know that price stability is important for our customers but the increase of wholesale natural gas costs on the global market, which are beyond our control, have unfortunately made this increase inevitable.
“During 2020 the price of wholesale gas decreased dramatically on the world markets, leading to firmus energy being able to offer our lowest ever tariffs. Today’s announcement, while unwelcome, is a sign of the market readjusting after 2020 to more standard levels.
“Any increase is never welcome news and we recognise this comes at a particularly difficult time for many. We want to assure our customers that we will continue to monitor and review our tariffs to ensure customers are getting the best prices possible.
“There is a clear ambition to reduce Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions in Northern Ireland. Every home converting from oil to natural gas benefits from an immediate CO2 reduction of 48%.”
Raymond Gormley, Interim Head of Energy at the Consumer Council, said: “This is unwelcome news for around 51,000 of firmus energy’s customers and small businesses in the Ten Towns area across Northern Ireland, especially during a time when many are experiencing increasing pressures on their household budget.
"However, we are aware the main driver is the significant rise in the cost of wholesale gas globally over the last year.
“We work closely with the Utility Regulator to ensure consumers are protected and supported and that there are no unnecessary costs being added or additional profits being made by the supplier.
"Any consumers who are experiencing financial difficulty and are struggling to pay their energy bills should contact their supplier without delay to talk about how they can help during these times.”
As well as Derry, the Ten Towns area includes Antrim, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Coleraine, Craigavon, Limavady, Newry and more than 25 other towns and villages in the surrounding areas.
firmus energy customers in Greater Belfast and in the West network area will not be impacted by this tariff change.
The West network area includes Strabane, Omagh, Cookstown, Dungannon, Enniskillen and Derrylin.
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