Utility Regulator welcomes further reduction to gas bills for customers in the Ten Towns area

05 March 2020

The Utility Regulator has welcomed firmus energy’s 21.15% reduction to their regulated gas tariffs for domestic and small business customers[1] in the Ten Towns area, effective from 1 April 2020.

Utility Regulator Chief Executive, Jenny Pyper said:

"This reduction of 21% to firmus energy’s regulated gas prices in the Ten Towns area is great news for their domestic and small business customers and follows a decrease of almost 9% last October. The main reason for this change is a significant decrease in wholesale gas costs. Two other factors that have impacted on the tariff are an over recovery from the current tariff that is being returned to customers and a decrease in the Ten Towns distribution costs.

“Following this decrease, a typical[2] firmus energy domestic credit customer could see a saving of around £135 per year. Their domestic gas tariff continues to compare well with GB and RoI. It is currently 31% below the Bord Gais standard tariff in RoI and 6% lower than the Default Tariff Cap level in GB.

“Our review of firmus energy’s regulated tariff has involved a thorough analysis of all the costs that make up a customer’s bill. Our system of regulation ensures that regulated tariffs always reflect the actual costs of supplying gas to households. As always, we will continue to keep the tariff under review.

“In relation to electricity, we have begun a review with Power NI regarding their domestic regulated tariffs and expect an announcement in the coming months. Whilst we can’t pre-empt the outcome, given the falls being seen in wholesale prices, I would be hopeful of a positive outcome for electricity consumers before the summer.”

This tariff announcement marks the conclusion of a review undertaken by the Utility Regulator and firmus energy, in consultation with the Department for the Economy and the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland.

A briefing paper on the tariff review process has been published.

 Notes to editor

  • For further information, please contact Adele Boyle on 028 9031 6664 or 07787 279584.
  • The Utility Regulator is the independent non-ministerial government department responsible for regulating the electricity and gas industries and water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland.
  • This tariff review commenced in February 2020 and covers around 46,000 customers in the Ten Towns area.
  • The previous tariff was effective from 1 October 2019 and was an 8.77% decrease.
  • The average domestic credit customer will see their bills decrease by around £135 per year and the average bill will fall to around £503 per year.
  • The Ten Towns and greater Belfast area are two separate markets, with different distribution network operators and different network use of system costs.
  • The Ten Towns area refers to firmus energy’s distribution network and includes: Derry/Londonderry, Limavady, Coleraine (including Portstewart and Bushmills), Ballymoney, Ballymena (Broughshane), Antrim (including Ballyclare and Templepatrick), Craigavon (including Portadown and Lurgan), Banbridge, Newry (Warrenpoint) and Armagh (Tandragee)
  • The Greater Belfast area covers: south, west, east and north Belfast; Carrickfergus; Newtownabbey; Duncrue and Harbour; Lisburn; Carryduff; Castlereagh; Newtownards; Larne; and North Down.
  • The firmus energy average domestic standard credit tariff is 6% lower than the Default Tariff Cap level in GB. Both have VAT rates of 5%.
  • This firmus energy average domestic standard credit tariff is 31% lower than the Bord Gais standard gas tariff in the RoI. This difference is between both tariffs inclusive of VAT at 13.5% in RoI and  5% in NI.

[1] Business customers using less than 2,500 therms per annum.

[2] Based on standard domestic credit customers with estimated usage 12,000kWh per annum including VAT