Firmus Energy customers on the Ten Towns network will see their gas bills cut by 7.56 per cent from October, but there will be no similar cut for SSE Airtricity gas households on the Greater Belfast or western networks.
The latest review of the north’s three regulated energy suppliers by the Utility Regulator has also failed to produce a price reduction for customers of Northern Ireland’s largest electric provider, Power NI.
The nature of the north’s energy system means the three regulated suppliers are subject to periodical review by the regulator in consultation with the Department for the Economy and the Consumer Council.
It had been hoped that the falling price of wholesale natural gas across Europe could encourage suppliers to cut their tariffs after soaring energy bills over the past year.
But the regulator confirmed the only cuts will be enacted for the 65,000 households on the Ten Towns network, which stretches from Derry to Newry.
It’s the third reduction of 2023 for gas households on the Ten Towns network.
The Consumer Council anticipates it will save around £111 per year the average annual gas, which is estimated to be around £1,278 from October.
But that’s still more than double what households were paying prior to 2021.
“Whilst this price reduction is welcome news for customers in the Ten Towns gas network area, energy prices are still very expensive in Northern Ireland and household budgets continue to be stretched for many,” said Raymond Gormley, head of energy policy at the consumer watchdog.
Meanwhile, the Utility Regulator estimates the average annual bill for households in the north using both gas and Power NI will be in the region of £2,400 from October, which is higher than in Britain.
The regulator estimates the average Power NI bill (£1,015 per year) will still be lower than electricity tariffs in Britain, but households here are expected to pay more for gas than their GB counterparts.
But the average gas household in Northern Ireland is still paying around £1,000 less over the course of a year than in the Republic, according to the Utility Regulator.
“We urge anyone who is struggling to pay their energy bills or top-up their meters to contact their supplier directly for help and support,” said Mr Gormley.
“We also encourage consumers to think about ways they can reduce their energy costs through energy efficiency and if possible, try to save money over the next few weeks to cover energy costs when the weather eventually gets colder during winter.”