The principal objective of the Utility Regulator (UR) in relation to gas is “to promote the development and maintenance of an efficient, economic and co-ordinated gas industry in Northern Ireland” while having regard to “the need to ensure a high level of protection of consumers of gas”.
To help meet this objective we retain price controls on dominant, former monopoly, gas suppliers. The two price-regulated gas supply companies are:
- SSE Airtricity Gas Supply (NI) Ltd (SSE Airtricity) in the Greater Belfast area and the West area.
- firmus energy (Supply) Ltd (firmus) in the Ten Towns area
We do not retain price controls on firmus energy in the Greater Belfast area.
The regulated gas companies submit their proposed costs for running their businesses to the UR. These costs are scrutinised by the UR and the appropriate cost level approved. The UR also sets the profit margin for the regulated companies in their regulated areas i.e. the level of profit which they are allowed to make from their price-regulated customers. The price-regulated threshold is for customers with consumption under 25,000 therms (732,500kWh) per annum. This currently includes domestic and small Industrial and Commercial customers. The latest Price Control documentation can be found below.