Profits grow at gas distributor Firmus after 7,000 new customers signed up in 2019

Managing director of Firmus Energy, Michael Scott.
Ryan McAleer

THE parent group for gas distributor Firmus Energy saw pre-tax profits shoot up by 60 per cent to £12.2 million in 2019, with almost 7,000 new customers signed up last year.

DEKA Energy Associates was incorporated in 2014 shortly before former owner iCON acquired Firmus from Bord Gais, the Republic’s state-owned energy company.

Firmus was sold to London-based infrastructure investor Equitix last year. The company has also invested in an anaerobic digestion plant in Dungannon and a waste energy plant in Belfast.

A new company report for the year ending December 31 2019 revealed Firmus recorded significant growth of its ‘Ten Towns’ gas network, which extends from Derry and across Antrim, down to Newry.

It grew from 41,320 connected meters in 2018 to 47,996 connections in 2019. Its Belfast network grew slightly to 50,479 connections.

In a briefing to industry stakeholders on Friday morning, Firmus Energy’s managing director, Michael Scott, said the company went on to hit 100,000 customers in 2020.

“In recent months Firmus Energy’s business has reached some significant milestones – supplying our 100,000th customer and growing the Ten Towns natural gas network to over 1,700 km,” he said.

“We have delivered sustained growth on an ongoing basis. Our original business plan was to connect around 2,000 customers a year but we’ve more than trebled that and are currently delivering in excess of 6,000 new gas connections each year.

“By the end of 2022 Northern Ireland’s natural gas infrastructure will have passed over 550,000 properties,” added the managing director.

“This presents an opportunity to expedite the conversion to natural gas of a further 230,000 properties and realise a total carbon reduction saving of 1.7million tonnes of CO2 each year.”

He said Firmus has multiple opportunities to extend its network into new towns and villages such as Crumlin, Glenavy and Portstewart.”

“All of which represent significant investment,” said Mr Scott.

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