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  • Writer's pictureGillian Anderson (Local Democracy Reporter)

NI council backs motion to challenge monopoly of Firmus Energy

Derry City and Strabane councillors supported a motion brought by Aontú Councillor Emmet Doyle calling for council to write to the Competition and Markets Authority to issue a formal complaint regarding the monopoly Firmus Energy has on gas distribution in the ten towns area.

Addressing the chamber Councillor Doyle said:

“This is a hot topic and council needs to take dramatic action to address matters which are getting to the point of putting people into destitution just so they can heat their homes.

“One of the things that continually comes up when we talk about this is that Firmus have a monopoly in the ten towns area and that is something that should never have been signed off in the first place and we are dealing with the consequences of it now.

“We should be seeking to have that monopoly undone so our constituents who are customers of gas companies can benefit from competition.”

Proposing the motion to initiate the complaints procedure with the Competition and Markets Authority, Councillor Doyle added:

“We need to do everything we can to challenge Firmus on their gas prices.”

Speaking on a point of accuracy, SDLP Councillor Rory Farrell said:

“We know that Firmus is the only company that operates in the ten towns area and it could be considered a monopoly, but that market is open and has been open since April 1, 2015. The problem is no other company has bid to operate in the ten towns area.

“We support the spirit of the motion, there should be more competition, there should be more choice but we can’t force anybody to bid for this.”

The Mayor, Alderman Graham Warke said officers would ‘seek clarification’ on the facts of the motion before sending a letter to the Competition and Markets Authority.


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