Gas company planning further £60m investment

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Natural gas company firmus energy has unveiled ambitious plans which will see a £60 million investment.

Following consultation with stakeholders and elected representatives, the company has submitted a five year plan to the Utility Regulator lasting from 2017 to 2022.

If approved, the company will invest a further £60 million developing its network making natural gas available to a further 100,000 properties.

In all 44,759 of these potential connections would be in Armagh Banbridge & Craigavon supercouncil area with 430km of pipes planned to be laid at an investment of a further £24m.

firmus energy has laid more than 282km of pipe in the Armagh Banbridge & Craigavon area, connecting its first customer in January 2010. The company has more than 5,500 customers in the area, including Tayto, Armagh City Hotel and St Luke’s Hospital.

This investment to date is worth in excess of £24m and has displaced more than 222,000 tonnes of CO2 from the surrounding atmosphere.

Eric Cosgrove, engineering director, explains: “We have invested more than £100 million in our network across Northern Ireland during the last decade and have brought natural gas to towns and cities which hadn’t previously been able to access this practical fuel.

“Since we connected our first commercial customer in December 2005, our ambitious growth strategy has gained momentum. Fast forward ten years to today and more than 90% of industry along the routes of our pipelines is now connected to natural gas, which signifies how integral the fuel is to the economic landscape in Northern Ireland.

“Energy costs remain an important factor for our customers and we support businesses in tracking and understanding the reasons behind the fluctuations in the volatile energy market through a unique fuel forecasting matrix.

“Domestic customers very quickly realised the benefits of natural gas and we receive hundreds of queries from homeowners as to whether or not they can connect. To address this customer-driven demand, we are continually liaising with the Utility Regulator to secure permissions to expand our network into new areas.

“We most recently brought natural gas to homes and businesses in Bushmills and Richhill and will connect our first customer in Co Tyrone later this year, which opens up the accessibility of natural gas to thousands of homes and businesses in area.”

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