Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

U-turn on Isle of Man gas standing charges

Manx Gas protest
Image caption The banding system sparked protests by gas customers

Unpopular banded standing charges for domestic gas on the Isle of Man are being dropped, Manx Gas has said.

Managing director Ian Plenderleith said the charging structure was "well intended" but had "failed the man-in-the-street test".

Introduced in January 2016, the changes saw customers pay a higher fixed charge coupled with cheaper gas, but the plans prompted protests.

Customers will now have the choice of moving back to a lower standing charge.

Campaigner Barry Murphy, who organised protests against the charges outside Tynwald and the company's Douglas office, said the announcement was a "pleasant surprise".

Image copyright Manx Gas
Image caption Manx Gas managing director Ian Plenderleith conceded the scheme had failed

Under the current system central heating bills are ranked in bands A to I, based on the amount of gas used, with daily standing charges ranging from 17p to £2.18.

When the charging regime was brought in, Manx Gas said it was to help spread the cost of bills throughout the year.

Mr Plenderleith said customers "didn't understand it" and people would now have "a choice of the standing charge they wish to be on".

A government report on its regulatory agreement with the company is due to be published soon.

The agreement between Manx Gas, the Office of Fair Trading and the Manx Treasury means the company's profits are capped at 9.99%.

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