Gas prices in the North are being cut by 19% from the start of next month, it was announced today.
The reduction by Phoenix Natural Gas follows a cut of 22.1% at the start of the year and brings prices back to 2006 levels that compare favourably with that in the rest of Ireland and rest of the UK said Utility Regulator Iain Osborne.
The cut make the North the first part of the UK to enjoy two substantial price cuts from a major supplier this year.
Phoenix said the average domestic bill will fall by £104 (€118) a year, giving an average bill of £437 (€495.82) or £8.40 (€9.53) a week.
The second price reduction in just nine months was described as “unprecedented in the history of the natural gas industry in Northern Ireland”, by Phoenix.
It said it was particularly welcome news for natural gas customers as the price of heating oil had increased this year and was forecast to rise even further.
David Strahan, general manager of Phoenix Supply said: “We made a commitment to our customers in January that should the wholesale cost of gas continue to fall we would, once again, reduce prices accordingly.
“This is a promise we have kept, and we are delighted that Phoenix is the first major UK gas supplier to be able to announce two substantial price reductions this year.”
He said in making the reduction they had consulted formally with the Utility Regulator, the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland and the British Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
The Regulator said the impact of the recession on wholesale costs was a key driver for the gas bill reduction.
Mr Osborne added: “Active regulation is playing its part to help Northern Ireland households and small business weather the recession.
“We have acted quickly to make sure recent falls in wholesale gas prices are fully passed on to the consumer.
“We made a commitment last year to ensure that cost reductions would be fully and quickly reflected in gas bills paid by Northern Ireland consumers. This announcement delivers on that undertaking.”
He added: “The reduction reflects a further fall in wholesale gas costs, largely caused by the economic downturn and improved gas supply infrastructure into the UK.”