08/04/2004

Phoenix Gas suspend gas price increase

Phoenix Natural Gas has agreed to suspend a proposed 20% gas price increase following a meeting with the Government today.

Enterprise Minister, Barry Gardiner and fellow NIO Minister, Ian Pearson today met with Sir Gerry Loughran, Chairman of Phoenix Natural Gas, Peter Dixon, Chief Executive of Phoenix Natural Gas, and Phil Holder, Managing Director of East Surrey Holdings plc, to discuss the issues surrounding the rise.

At the meeting Phoenix explained the difficulties they faced but agreed to the suspension for a period in the interests of consumers.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Gardiner said: "This is welcome news for consumers and for the gas industry in Northern Ireland. I am delighted that Phoenix has now helped to create a window of opportunity within which we can address all of the issues facing the gas industry.

"We now need to find solutions for both the current price increase and the long term licensing renegotiation issues. This is crucially important for gas consumers and the further development of the industry."

Last month, Phoenix Natural Gas announced its intention to raise prices in Northern Ireland by around 20%.

The gas giant blamed supplier, British Gas Trading (BGT), for the increase which would see customers paying an extra £1.36 a week on average.

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