Naomi Long MP said: “I will be raising the price rise which has been announced for the greater Belfast area and which comes into effect from 1 October. This will have a significant impact on the households affected, particularly in the current economic climate. Whilst I understand that a significant portion of the increase is due to the ending of the “price freeze” period which the company offered to encourage customers to switched supplier, I think it is important to seek some assurance about future prices.
“Household energy bills, including gas, electricity and oil continue to be higher in Northern Ireland than throughout the rest of the UK. A recent Department of Climate Change and Energy report indicated that the highest annual energy bill in Great Britain was in Cardiff, where typically households will spend around £1100 per annum on energy; however, in Northern Ireland the Consumer Council have estimated that the average combined energy bill for a household here is around £2100 per year, over £1000 more.
“I want to discuss with Firmus and with other companies what more can be done to work towards bringing prices here more in line with the rest of the UK. Increasing competition is certainly one way to address the issue and so the entry of Firmus into the market place has been very welcome in that respect. However, we must also see progress from the Executive on enhanced insulation of homes and more diversification of supply, including promoting the use of renewable energy systems, to tackle the wider issue of fuel costs and stability.”