A rebate of at least £58 will be paid to thousands of Manx Gas customers early next year as the result of an agreement by the gov to adjust loans it holds with Manx Utilities.
While it will be welcome news to many, it is still well short of what customers were told they could expect had a new voluntary pricing structure been agreed between Manx Gas and Tynwald.
What Has Been Agreed?
The new arrangement has been established following a decision to reduce the amount Manx Gas pays Manx Utilities each year in relation to infrastructure payments, with £1.4m savings being passed on to consumers in full.
After considering a number of options about how the rebate should be paid and who should receive it, CoMin has agreed that Manx Gas will pay the credit to all domestic and business customers. Customers who have not been billed for any units of gas in the previous 12 months to end of November 2021 will not receive the credit.
The gov accounts were excluded from all consideration and will not receive the rebate.
While this is, in its most basic form, good news for islanders, readers will of course remember that Tynwald agreed to an increase in the price cap for gas on the island of 27.5% back in October.
At the time, the island’s regulator, the Communications and Utilities Regulatory Authority (CURA), said that this would lead to an estimated increase of between £21 and £44.63 per month for customers. So, if prices were to remain the same, customers are only getting back a maximum of just shy of three months worth of increases through this rebate.
There is also the issue of a further request for a reconsideration of the price gap which CURA announced earlier this month.
In response to this, Manx Gas said: ‘A request to CURA to raise our tariffs is automatically triggered when it is proven that we will fall short of the minimum 10% profit margin agreed with the regulator.’
However, CURA denied this, in a statement you can see in full below, by saying: ‘It has been reported that Manx Gas has a minimum profit level of 10% that was agreed with the Regulator, this is not the case; there is currently no regulated return in place. The Authority is currently consulting on, but has not yet determined a suitable regulatory return for Manx Gas there is therefore no obligation to consider restoring Manx Gas’ profitability to a particular level as part of any tariff review process.’
What They’re Saying
Cabinet Office Minister Kate Lord-Brennan MHK said that the rebate will be ‘welcomed by gas customers after the recent news that prices will rise due to pressure on energy costs being felt across the globe’. She added: ‘Isle of Man Government has worked hard to put in place a mechanism which will see Manx Gas’s outgoings reduce, in order that the resultant saving is passed directly to those affected.’
Jo Cox, CEO of Islands Energy Group, the parent company of Manx Gas, added: ‘We are delighted to have worked alongside Isle of Man Government to bring this rebate to our customers. At a time of unprecedented and ongoing volatility in the global gas markets, it’s important that the funds go directly to people who are experiencing an impact to their cost of living.
‘If anyone is worried about their bill this winter, we would urge them to get in touch with us on 644440 so that we can discuss affordability plans and direct them to any additional help that may be available.’
The rebate will appear on bills from February as a standard credit.