Both Northern Ireland gas suppliers have announced increases to their prices this week – the first time that gas prices have been raised since 2013. Firmus Energy customers will see the bigger increase, adding more than 12% to their annual bills.
If you live in Northern Ireland and your home has a gas supply, you’ll see your prices increase from 31 March.
The gas price rises are due to an increase in the cost of international wholesale energy, according to the Northern Ireland energy regulator, Utility Regulator.
SSE Airtricity Gas Supply’s domestic gas tariffs are subject to a price control, as it’s the incumbent supplier. Firmus Energy’s gas prices in the Ten Towns area are also subject to price control, since it’s the only gas supplier there.
This means that price increases must be approved by the Utility Regulator. It said it only approved the increased tariffs after ‘extensive scrutiny’.
Find out how your energy supplier compares with its rivals in our dedicated guide to Northern Ireland electricity and gas firms.
SSE Airtricity price rise
SSE Airtricity Gas Supply’s 140,000 customers will see a 7.6% increase in their gas tariff, adding around £36 to their gas bill per year.
The Utility Regulator said the tariff will still be lower than the average standard gas tariff in the Republic of Ireland, and 26% cheaper than the Bord Gais standard gas tariff there. SSE Airtricity Gas Supply’s tariff should also be cheaper than the average Big Six standard tariffs in Great Britain.
SSE Airtricity has reduced its gas prices three times in the past two years, most recently by 10.2% in April 2016.
Our energy company reviews reveal all you need to know about the Big Six energy firms.
Firmus Energy price rise
Gas customers supplied by Firmus Energy will be hit by a 12.2% price rise. This is one of the biggest percentage increases we’ve seen in the UK recently, and will add £66 to customers’ annual bills.
The tariff in the Ten Towns area will still be lower than the average standard tariff in the Republic of Ireland, and in line with the average standard gas tariffs in Great Britain, according to the Utility Regulator.
Firmus Energy said that the increase equates to around £1.18 extra per week for a typical household.
Firmus Energy supplies around 30,000 customers in the Ten Towns area, and a further 50,000 in Greater Belfast. The increase will come into effect for customers in Greater Belfast later, on 7 April.
Firmus Energy gas customers have seen two price cuts in the last two years, including a 7.7% cut in April 2016.
Can I switch gas supplier?
If you live in the Greater Belfast area of Northern Ireland, you can choose whether you buy your gas from SSE Airtricity Gas Supply or Firmus Energy. But Firmus Energy is the only gas supplier in the Ten Towns area.
So you might be able to save money by switching supplier in Greater Belfast.
In the Ten Towns area, follow our tips to save money on energy:
- Turn down your thermostat by 1°C. This can save up to £85 on your heating in a year in a typical home, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
- Stop draughts by insulating gaps around doors, loft hatches, windows and chimneys. You could cut up to £50 from your bill in a year.
- Insulate your home. Insulating both your loft and cavity walls can trim up to £315 in total off your bills, as less heat will be lost through your walls and roof so you’ll need to produce less to keep warm.
(Prices based on domestic consumers on a standard credit tariff with average consumption of 12,500kWh of gas per year).