Firmus energy plan to invest £24million in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon area, with 430km of pipes planned which would create 44,759 potential connections.
This would be part of a five year plan that the company submitted the Utility Regulator lasting from 2017 to 2022 to invest £60million in their network across Northern Ireland, making natural gas available to a further 100,000 properties.
Firmus energy has laid more than 282km of pipe in the Armagh Banbridge & Craigavon supercouncil area, connecting its first customer in January 2010.
The company has more than 5,500 customers in the area, including Tayto, Armagh City Hotel, the Orchard Leisure Centre and St Luke’s Hospital.
This investment to date is worth in excess of £24m and has displaced more than 222,000 tonnes of CO2 from the surrounding atmosphere.
Around 76,000 customers across Northern Ireland, firmus energy has brought the convenient fuel to more than 25 cities, towns and villages across Northern Ireland and competes in the greater Belfast market.
The company has been operating in Northern Ireland for only ten years and the 1,000km milestone was always a strategic goal of firmus energy’s intensive development programme.
Eric Cosgrove, engineering director, said: “We have invested more than £100 million in our network across Northern Ireland during the last decade and have brought natural gas to towns and cities which hadn’t previously been able to access this practical fuel.
“Since we connected our first commercial customer in December 2005, our ambitious growth strategy has gained momentum.
“Fast forward ten years to today and more than 90% of industry along the routes of our pipelines is now connected to natural gas, which signifies how integral the fuel is to the economic landscape in Northern Ireland.
“Energy costs remain an important factor for our customers and we support businesses in tracking and understanding the reasons behind the fluctuations in the volatile energy market through a unique fuel forecasting matrix.
Eric continued: “Domestic customers very quickly realised the benefits of natural gas and we receive hundreds of queries from homeowners as to whether or not they can connect.
“To address this customer-driven demand, we are continually liaising with the Utility Regulator to secure permissions to expand our network into new areas.”
“So far we have exceeded our connection targets year on year with more than 4,000 new commercial and domestic customers annually and we estimate with our forecast growth plans, we can sustain this into the future.”