Firmus energy gas tariff to increase by 32.98 percent in Greater Belfast
Firmus energy has announced an increase of 32.98 percent from October 22 for gas customers in the Greater Belfast area.
The network covers Belfast as well as Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus, Larne, Lisburn, Bangor, Holywood, Donaghadee, Groomsport, Millisle, Newtownards, Carryduff, Comber, and East Down.
The news, which follows a 200 percent increase in global gas commodity prices since April 2021, will impact around 50,000 domestic customers overall in Greater Belfast.
It means the yearly gas bill of a typical household with a credit meter will rise by about £185 per year, while customers with a prepayment gas meter (PAYG) will see their typical costs increase by around £182 per year, according to the Consumer Council.
Raymond Gormley, Head of Energy Policy at the Consumer Council said: “While this price rise was expected due to global increases in wholesale gas costs, and having seen firmus energy Ten Towns and SSE Airtricity Belfast price rises, it makes it no less challenging for household budgets to absorb.
“This increase follows well-publicised rises in electricity, grocery, and fuel costs and is particularly bad news for consumers in vulnerable situations as it will coincide with the end of the furlough scheme, the removal of the Universal Credit uplift, and the start of winter.
“Gas consumers in the Belfast area have the opportunity to switch supplier and the Consumer Council would encourage customers to check they have the best deal before 21 October when the opt-out period ends.
“Consumers who are struggling with their energy bills should contact their supplier directly for help and information. We would encourage all consumers to think about ways they can reduce their energy costs. Switching payment option, changing billing method or switching supplier can save some money.”
Michael Scott, Managing Director of firmus energy, added: “We are very sorry that we have to make this announcement to our customers in the Greater Belfast area. However, given the huge increases in the cost of purchasing natural gas on the global markets, which have been well publicised in recent weeks, it is simply unavoidable, as these costs are totally beyond our control.
"With the world starting to reopen again, following the Covid-19 restrictions, this is leading to increased demand for natural gas and that has been driving the prices up.
“We will continue to monitor and review our tariffs to ensure customers are getting the best prices possible.
“Any increase is never welcome, and we know this will come at a particularly difficult time for many. We are fully committed to working with consumer bodies to best support our customers, especially in the forthcoming winter months."
Firmus customers seeking advice on their natural gas bills or direct debit payments should contact the company's energy Customer Services team on 0330 024 9000; telephone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Meanwhile, the Consumer Council’s website has a free independent energy price comparison tool which empowers consumers to compare all electricity and gas tariffs across Northern Ireland in one place.
Raymond continued: “The Consumer Council will continue to work with our energy companies and the Utility Regulator on the development of initiatives to help consumers experiencing payment difficulties.”
Consumers can also get in touch with the Consumer Council for free independent advice by calling Freephone 0800 121 6022 or by emailing [email protected]
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