Tynwald members have tonight voted to accept the heads of terms of a new voluntary gas deal.

After a debate lasting over two hours, Tynwald has embraced the deal negotiated by Policy and Reform Minister Ray Harmer.

Mr Harmer called on members to either accept or reject the heads of terms, rather than embracing any of the amendments tabled.

Both parts of the motion passed, but the votes were far from unanimous and were likely closer than the Council of Ministers had anticipated.

Under the previous regulatory agreement signed by the government in 2015, Manx Gas was controversially guaranteed a 9.99% return on capital employed.

But under the new terms, Manx Gas would be permitted to achieve 6.99% - essentially, capping profits at just below 7% for the utility supplier on accounts for domestic customers.

A domestic customer is defined as a small business or household consuming less than 12,000 kWh per annum and covers both natural gas and LPG customers.

The deal also means the majority of domestic customers will receive a £93 refund.

David Cruddace, Manx Gas chief executive, said: 'This is very good news for our 21,000 customers.

'They will get a refund in their 2020 bill and a reduced tariff for 2021.

'The next step is to flesh out these draft terms into a full contract and we will continue to push government to deliver the document.

'Once this final agreement is signed, we can begin processing the refunds. I promise we will do this as quickly as possible.'