firmus energy Supply Ltd: supplying natural gas to over 80,000 customers throughout Northern Ireland

firmus energy Supply ltd was granted a Natural Gas supply licence in 2005 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of firmus Energy Distribution Ltd (Gas Network Operator in the Ten Towns area). Annual turnover has now grown from a standing start in 2005 to circa. £90 million.

The main function of the supply business is the purchase and sale of natural gas to the domestic, commercial and large industrial market sectors. firmus energy supply currently operates in two main areas. The first being the regulated supply business servicing customers of its distribution business in the Ten Towns area and its competitive unregulated supply business in greater Belfast and Gas to the West.

firmus energy supply holds a unique position in the Northern Ireland gas market as it is the only integrated gas distribution network operator and supply business. This gives customers the comfort that from the initial meeting with the sales team in the Ten Towns area through to the gas conversion, connection and choice of billing option, they are dealing with one team of people who are experienced and customer focused. This expertise is also available to supply customers in greater Belfast and Gas to the West areas.

Michael Scott, Managing Director states: “Our strategy is to understand customer needs and help customers understand the value of what we are offering in terms of quality and service.

“We’re now supplying over 80,000 customers and have plans to significantly increase our customer base over the coming years.

“At firmus energy supply we understand that the differentiation between natural gas supply and distribution may be confusing so we hope the following brief outline of the functions of each team involved in supply will help to clarify the linkage between distribution and supply.”

Supply team

• The journey from the gas fields to your gas bill begins with our pricing and risk team.

Pricing and risk team

Pricing and risk is a team of specialist analysts responsible for purchasing the natural gas we supply to our customers.

Like any commodity, the UK wholesale natural gas market can be changeable depending on what is happening in a global context. However, we work closely with our trading partners to identify fundamental factors impacting natural gas prices. On a daily basis, we monitor key price drivers including UK natural gas supply and demand, weather forecast, Brent Crude oil prices, coal prices, carbon prices and sterling exchange rates.

We interact regularly with our sales team, the Consumer Council, the Utility Regulator and large I&C customers directly to deliver the best price for all our customers.

Tariffs

firmus energy supply tariffs are published on www.firmusenergy.co.uk for the domestic market in both the Ten Towns and greater Belfast area and for the commercial customer using up to approximately £2,500 per year on natural gas.

Commercial customers in the Ten Towns area using between £2,500 and £25,000 per year of natural gas can also avail of a published tariff but as the market in greater Belfast is now deregulated for this sector we will, on request, visit each customer to outline tariffs and options available. In each of the three gas network areas customers who use more than £25,000 per year on natural gas can avail of bespoke supply contracts tailored to suit their individual requirements.

The price customers pay for gas is made up of three main components, network use costs (transmission, transportation and distribution costs), operating costs and wholesale gas costs.


Commercial sales team

The commercial sales team is responsible for retailing gas to commercial/Industrial customers across the three gas networks in Northern Ireland. Our customer base is very diverse and ranges from small businesses to large manufacturing and agri-food customers.

The team has more than 65 years’ experience and is therefore well placed to help our customers manage their gas needs.

Many of our customers operate in very competitive markets, either at local or global level and managing energy costs is very important to them. It is therefore imperative that we work with our customers to ensure costs are kept under control.

At firmus energy supply we aim to build long term business partnerships and are constantly striving to deliver best value whilst at the same time delivering highest level customer service.

We offer a range of tailored solutions to help customers get the best value from the wholesale gas markets. Dedicated account managers help manage the procurement of gas and keep the customer updated on events that may affect gas cost. By offering flexibility the customers can take full advantage of the markets and adopt a strategy that fits with their business.
Customer services team

The Customer services team is at the heart of our daily interactions with customers and act as the first point of contact for a wide and varied range of customer enquiries. Our customer service advisors are knowledgeable individuals, customer focused and driven to provide best in class customer service.

The team handles on average between 3,500 and 4,000 calls per month with queries including customers wishing to switch to firmus energy for their natural gas supply, customers moving home, queries on how to use a Pay As You Go meter and how to pay a bill online. Our low level of customer complaints reflects the great standard of service we provide and as always, we continue to look at how we serve our customers and ways we can improve.

Our main customer service line is open 24/7 ensuring there is always a local, friendly voice at the end of the line to help or reassure at any time.

Billing team

The customer billing team provides a wealth of experience and knowledge to deliver the billing needs for our 80,000 plus customers. The team is split up into the four key areas including meter reading, billing, credit control and revenue protection.

As billing is sometimes the only contact a customer has with firmus energy, it’s incredibly important to ensure that it’s a positive experience. In an average year, the team process 95,000 bills which equates to an overall bill value of around £90 million across a varied residential and commercial customer base in both our Ten Towns network and the greater Belfast network. In short, the main function and focus of customer billing is to ensure our customers are billed accurately and in a timely manner; and that the billing process is as simple and clear as possible for all our customers.

Michael concludes with reminding us that firmus energy is the only UK utility company with 100 per cent of staff trained to City and Guild standard in energy efficiency which outlines a commitment to energy efficiency, staff development and the customers that we continue to serve.

Please feel free to contact our customer services team on 0800 0324567 and they will put you in touch with the relevant person to talk about on any of the points above.

Related Posts