Firmus energy announced on 5 April 2022 an increase of 37% effective from 3 May 2022 for gas customers in the Belfast area.
This news will impact approximately 47,000 domestic customers in Belfast and means the annual gas bill of a typical household with a credit meter will rise by about £330 per year. Those customers with a prepayment gas meter (PAYG) will see their typical costs increase by around £325 per year.
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.”
“Unlike the consumers in the Ten Towns network, gas consumers in the Greater Belfast area have the opportunity to switch supplier and the Consumer Council encourage customers to check they have the best deal before 2 May 2022 when the opt-out period ends. It is also worth checking if you are on the cheapest electricity tariff.”
“We encourage anyone who is struggling to pay their energy bills or top-up their meters to contact their supplier directly for help and information. We also encourage consumers to think about ways they can reduce their energy costs via energy efficiency, switching energy supplier, or changing billing method.”
The Consumer Council’s website has a number of free resources including Switch On: A Guide for Home Energy Users to help consumers be more energy efficient at home, get the best from their electricity or gas supply and save money.
Raymond 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.”
Firmus energy customers in the Ten Towns network area will not be impacted by this tariff change.
Consumers can also get in touch with the Consumer Council for free independent advice by calling Freephone 0800 121 6022 or by emailing email@example.com.