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Author: Consumer Council
Published on 31 August 2011 03:30 PM

The Consumer Council welcomes the introduction of competition for around 55,000 Belfast gas consumers who have Pay As You Go Meters.

From today all natural gas customers in Greater Belfast and Larne will be able to switch their gas supplier.

Richard Williams, Head of Energy of the Consumer Council said: “It is good news that finally all gas customers in these areas can switch their supplier. Unfortunately there are only two suppliers available at the moment, but even with this limited amount of competition we recommend that all consumers check to see if they could save money by switching.

“With Fuel Poverty estimated to affect around half of all households in Northern Ireland, the Utility Regulator and Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment need to do everything they can to encourage more competitors to enter the domestic gas market in Northern Ireland.

“However, competition only benefits consumers if it provides lower prices, improved customer service, is available to all types of consumers and provides increased and targeted protection to vulnerable consumers.

“The switching process has been designed by the gas industry to be as quick and easy as possible. However, the Consumer Council will continue to keep a close
watch on how switching progresses. We would like consumers to contact us if they experience delays or have other issues with the switching process”.

Whether you are a homeowner or a tenant, if the gas account is in your name, the decision whether to switch is down to you. To help you decide the Consumer Council has produced an online price and service comparison tool and a switching leaflet that explains the process. These are all available to download free at www.consumercouncil.org.uk or by calling our freephone number on 0800 121 6022.

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575