Author: Consumer Council
Published on 20 September 2011 12:00 PM
The decision by firmus energy to increase prices, as their current ‘price freeze’ period comes to an end is a blow for their customers in Belfast.
Firmus customers will now see the cost of their gas increase by 35 per cent from the 1 October 2011.
John French, Head of Energy at the Consumer Council said: “This is further bad news for consumers, in a year that has seen other large price increases in electricity, home heating oil, gas and coal - especially given that Northern Ireland has higher energy bills than England, Scotland and Wales”.
The majority (67 per cent) of households here use home heating oil to heat their homes and will typically have a combined oil and electricity bill of around £2,114. This compares to a recent Department of Climate Change and Energy Report which showed that the highest energy bill in Great Britain was in Cardiff where a household would typically spend around a £1,100 per year – which is £1,000 cheaper than the majority of households are paying here in Northern Ireland.
This has caused Northern Ireland to have the highest level of fuel poverty in the UK, with 44 per cent of households struggling to pay their energy bills and to heat their homes.
Belfast gas customers have a choice of suppliers and the Consumer Council recommend that consumers shop around for the best deal. The Consumer
Council has produced a ‘Gas Price and Service Comparison Tool’ that consumers can use by visiting our website at www.consumercouncil.org.uk.
The Consumer Council has also produced a guide to switching gas supplier entitled ‘Switch On’ which gives all the information you need to know about moving to a new gas supplier. To download your free copy visit the Consumer Council website or call 0800 121 6022 to request a free copy by post.