Support scheme to be set up as firmus blame gas tariff rise on wholesale costs

Don't let heating bills keep you in the cold this lockdown

firmus customers are set to see prices soar by almost 40%

Staff reporter

Reporter:

Staff reporter

firmus energy has blamed a 38.18% increase on the natural gas tariff in the Ten Towns area on further increases in global wholesale gas prices.

A support scheme is to be set up amid fears that the price rises will lead to an increase of people living in fuel poverty.

The rise will take effect from December 3, 2021 and affects firmus customers in Antrim, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Coleraine, Craigavon (including Lurgan and Portadown), Limavady, Derry/Londonderry, Newry and more than 25 other towns and villages in the surrounding areas.

firmus say wholesale global gas prices have increased by 430% from a year ago and by 136% since the previous tariff review that came into effect on the 1st October.

The change in tariff means an extra £4.89 per week on to the average household bill.

Dr David Dobbin, Chairman of firmus energy, said: "We very much regret having to increase our tariff however steep increases in global wholesale gas prices have forced our hand.

"This is a not a firmus issue, but a challenge faced by every local and national supplier of gas and electricity all of whom, sooner or later, will have to further increase their prices to meet the huge upsurges which have taken place in wholesale energy costs.

"We know this is an unwelcome increase which will have a disproportionate effect on those of our customers who are the most vulnerable. We have been consulting with key stakeholders and will be introducing a support scheme to be delivered through a local charity which will offer targeted help to those most in need, especially over the winter period.

"The scheme will be launched in the coming weeks and will go live around the same time as the increase we announced today takes effect. If any of our customers feel that they require further support, they should contact us directly to see how we can help."

Customers seeking advice on their natural gas bills or direct debit payments should contact the firmus energy Customer Services team on 0330 024 9000. Our telephone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For free and independent advice on how to save energy please contact NI Energy Advice Line on 0800 111 4455.

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