Bord Gais charges customers in Republic 20pc more
BORD Gais is charging householders in the Republic 20pc more than Northern customers because the regulator fixes the prices here.
The Consumers' Association of Ireland last night said it was "another slap in the face" for loyal customers.
The company said the difference was because its prices in the south are fixed by the energy regulator, whereas it is free to set its own prices in the North.
Bord Gais revealed earlier this week that it plans to hit consumers in the south with a double-digit increase in gas prices from October.
The semi-state company also has around 9,000 customers in the North through its subsidiary Firmus.
The average annual gas bill for Firmus customers is £561 (€630). However, Bord Gais customers here pay an average of €737.
Bord Gais spokesman Larry Donald said the reason for the discrepancy was that Bord Gais prices were fixed by a regulator in the Republic, which meant they were obliged to reflect actual supply costs.
However, in the North the company is a newcomer to the market with the right to discount prices in order to win customers.
Mr Donald said the regulated Northern supplier Phoenix had last week announced a 39pc increase in prices, which meant regulated prices there were now 12pc higher than here. "We have taken a commercial decision in Northern Ireland to hold our prices until September.... because we are trying to build our customer base there," he said.