Firmus petrol price increase of 33.57% in Derry and the Ten Towns network from today

Firmus, which supplies gas to Derry and other parts of Northern Ireland, blamed further increases in global wholesale gas prices for the huge rise, which comes at a time when local populations are already also faced with significant increases in the prices of electricity, oil and foodstuffs.

The latest natural gas tariff increase applies to the Ten City Network area, which includes Derry and Limavady. However, the rate increase will not apply to Belfast Firmus customers.

The northern utilities regulator has previously said the Ten City and Greater Belfast regions are “two separate markets, with different distribution network operators and different network usage of system costs”.

Register to our daily newsletter Derry Journal Today

The newsletter mute the noise

Protesters at the recent Derry Against Fuel Poverty rally in Guildhall Square. DER2206GS-135

Firmus said increasing rates here would mean an extra £5.95 a week on the average household bill here.

The Ten Towns Network area includes Antrim, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Coleraine, Craigavon ​​(including Lurgan and Portadown), Limavady, Derry, Newry and over 25 other surrounding towns and villages.

Dr David Dobbin, Chairman of firmus energy, said: “Unfortunately, due to sustained high prices in the wholesale gas markets, we have had no choice but to increase our gas tariff further. .

“Very low gas stocks; reduced Russian supplies and concerns about the situation in Ukraine combine to keep European gas prices high. The market slump has been well publicized and markets look increasingly set to stay high for some time. As we have said before, this is not just a firmus problem, but a challenge faced by all local and national gas and electricity suppliers who are all affected by the huge increases that have taken place in wholesale gas and energy prices.

“We know this is another unwanted increase which will have a disproportionate effect on those of our customers who are most vulnerable. We have provided financial support to the Department of Communities program to help those most in need and we will continue to do so. If any of our customers feel they need further assistance, they should contact us directly to see how we can help.”

The price increase has been reviewed by the utility regulator, in consultation with the Department of the Economy and the Consumer Council of Northern Ireland.

As part of this process, the utility regulator reviewed firmus energy’s actual costs of delivering gas to homes and businesses in the ten-city grid area.

Commenting on the increase, John French, chief executive of the utility regulator, said: “At the end of December 2021, we received a submission from Firmus Energy to undertake an ad hoc review of their ten city regulated tariff for domestic consumers and small businesses. The review took place against a backdrop of continued increases in wholesale gas prices, which have risen significantly since Firmus Energy’s last rate increase on December 3, 2021.

“We have now analyzed and assessed Firmus Energy’s submission and consulted with the Department of the Economy and the Consumer Council of Northern Ireland. This review unfortunately concluded that an increase of 33.57% from February 24, 2022 is necessary to reflect the continuous and exceptional price spikes that have been recorded in the global wholesale market.

“This will unfortunately mean that the average annual gas bill for households in the Ten Towns License Area will rise to £1,293 a year.”

Customers who would like advice on their natural gas bills or direct debit payments should contact the firmus energy customer service team on 0330 024 9000. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For free, independent advice on how to save energy, please contact NI Energy Advice Line on 0800 111 4455.

Earlier this month, a new group Derry Against Fuel Poverty held a well-attended rally in the city center amid the growing cost of living crisis.

A spokesperson for the group said: ‘People in Derry and beyond have really struggled to cope with the rising cost of living for over a year. We have been forced to absorb three gas price increases by Firmus in 2021, with a very unwelcome fourth scheduled for February 24.

“Cumulatively, by the time the February 24 price hike takes effect, Firmus Gas customers in Derry will have faced a price hike of 194% in twelve months. This means that on average people will have had to find an extra £70 a month to heat their homes from one winter to the next. That’s, on average, an extra £800 a year to heat their home. This is absolutely outrageous and an impossible task for many.

The Journal has asked for more information on why these gas price increases are being applied in some northern areas and not in others.