‘Three steps to beat new gas price increase’

A local campaigner is advising gas users in Derry of steps they can take to ensure they don’t get caught out by the new price hike about to be introduced.

Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 9:52 am
Gas prices are to rise.

Firmus Energy has announced that, on December 3, it will increase gas prices by over 38% across the company’s ‘Ten Towns Network’ - which includes Derry, Strathfoyle, Drumahoe, Eglinton and Limavady.

This will be the company’s third price rise this year – following increases of 35% in October and 18% in April.

Steve Bradley says are three ways to counter the latest increase.

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He explained: “If you have a ‘Pay As You Go’ meter, any top-ups you buy before Friday, December 3 will be charged to you at the current price. But for any you buy after that date, you will pay 38% more for the same units of gas. So, the message is clear – get your meter card topped up by December 2 at the very latest to save more than a third on your gas.”

“If you have a credit meter (where you get billed every quarter), you should ensure you submit your latest meter reading to Firmus on or before December 2. This is particularly urgent for anyone who hasn’t given Firmus a meter reading since before the last increase in October because whatever gas you used prior to that price hike will end up being charged to you in-part at the new higher rate – even though it was for gas used when the tariff was much lower.”

Mr Bradley explained how he fell foul of this issue himself with his last gas bill.

“I spend a lot of time in England with work, so, whenever Firmus called to take my meter reading in Derry, I wasn’t at home. And, because I was paying the bills by Direct Debit every month, I wasn’t asked to submit a reading either. So, for the last two years, Firmus have relied solely on estimates to calculate my bills. When I checked my meter recently, however, I discovered that their estimates have been much lower than the actual gas I’d used. Firmus took the accurate reading from me and said that a revised bill would be sent out in the next quarter. However, I was informed that all of the additional gas used over that last two year period would be billed at their new higher December 2021 price. It amounted to a whopping £600, so I refused and told them it was unacceptable to charge a new high tariff for gas that was used when the price was much lower. They eventually agreed to charge me only the tariff that was in place

before the April 2021 price increase – saving £290”.

Mr Bradley is concerned that anyone else in Derry who doesn’t submit regular meter readings may be charged the new higher price for gas they’ve used in the past.

He added: “Everything is going up in price these days, so it’s important to help people save money where they can. Having been caught on the wrong end of the gas price rises myself, I would urge people in Derry to follow these three simple steps to beat this new increase.”