Business news

Firmus announces gas price rise of 37% in Belfast area

Firmus gas
Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Gas supplier Firmus Energy is to increase prices for customers in the Belfast area by 37%.

The company said the rise, which will affect about 47,000 customers, will be introduced on May 3.

This is the latest in a series of rises to the price of gas for customers.

The increase will see an average gas bill rise by about £330 a year.

Niall Martindale, Interim Managing Director of Firmus Energy, said: “Energy markets remain at very high levels having been adversely affected by the war in Ukraine.

“This has been reflected across the board with increases in the costs of home heating oil, coal, electricity and gas.

“Regrettably the sheer scale of the increased costs involved give us no alternative but to pass on to our customers the higher costs we are having to pay for the gas we supply.

“Firmus Energy is committed to reducing its tariff for all customers as soon as the market crisis subsides and enables us to do so.”

Last week, the company announced that prices in its Ten Towns network area would increase by 16.31%.

Firmus energy announced on Tuesday today an increase of 37% effective from May 3 2022 for gas customers in the Belfast area.

Raymond Gormley, Head of Energy Policy at the Consumer Council, said: “While this price rise was expected due to sustained increases in global, wholesale, gas costs and having seen Firmus Energy Ten Towns and SSE Airtricity Belfast price rises, it makes it no less challenging for households to absorb.

“The global, wholesale price increase, exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine, follows well-publicised rises in home heating oil, coal, electricity, grocery, and transport fuel costs.

“This is particularly bad news for consumers in vulnerable situations and low income households. It also means a wider group of households than before are having their budgets stretched ever further.”

He added: “Unlike the consumers in the Ten Towns network, gas consumers in the Greater Belfast area have the opportunity to switch supplier.”

Consumers have had to deal with a series of energy price increases in recent months.

Last week, Electric Ireland, the third largest supplier of electricity in Northern Ireland, announced it was increasing its prices by 30% from May.

Mr Gormley continued: “We appeal to Firmus Energy, and the wider energy industry, to commit to continued financial support for a fuel hardship scheme in the coming financial year.

“For the longer term, it is clear that energy companies, policy makers, the Utility Regulator, charities and the Consumer Council must continue to work together to develop sustainable solutions to help support those in need as the problem of high energy prices will likely be with us for the foreseeable future.”

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