Gas customers in Portadown, Lurgan and Craigavon could pay more than £180 this year as Firmus hikes prices

Gas prices are to rise in the Portadown, Craigavon and Lurgan areas by 35.13% this year as Firmus hikes prices in the Ten Towns licence area.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 11:07 am

This will mean average customers will pay an extra £183 per year more from October 1 this year.

The Utility Regulator says that the average annual household gas bill will rise from £518 to £701 per year.

The Ten Towns Network area includes Antrim, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Coleraine, Craigavon (including Lurgan and Portadown), Limavady, Derry/Londonderry, Newry, and more than 25 other towns and villages in the surrounding areas.

Michael Scott, left, MD of Firmus Energy.

Michael Scott, Managing Director of firmus energy, said: “We are very sorry to have to make this announcement as the last thing we want is to have to increase our prices. However, given the massive increases in the cost of purchasing natural gas on the global markets, 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 at alarming rates. As normality returns, we expect prices to begin to stabilise again.”

John French, Utility Regulator Chief Executive said: “This announcement unfortunately reflects the unprecedented increases in international wholesale energy markets. Wholesale gas prices continue to break record levels. Currently, the cost of wholesale gas has risen by 170% since the start of April 2021.

“While we have no power to compel a company to sell energy for less than it costs, we have fully scrutinised Firmus Energy’s submission. This has been carried out in consultation with the Department for the Economy and the Consumer Council, and ensures that the company’s submission accurately reflects the costs they have incurred.

“To try and reduce the impact of this increase, we brought forward our review of their network tariffs which has enabled a 4.5% or a £20 reduction in Firmus Energy’s original application.

“The final agreed increase therefore will be 35.15% or £183 per year for the average household.

“As a result of this increase, the average domestic gas bill in the Ten Towns area will rise to £701 per year. For comparison, an annual average household gas bill in GB is £625 per year and £782 per year in the Republic of Ireland.

Advice on gas bills or payments contact firmus energy on 0330 024 9000. For free independent advice contact NI Energy Advice Line on 0800 111 4455.

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