The Government has published its Quarterly Energy Prices report for October – December 2019.
The report is helpful for understanding trends in energy pricing. You can read the full report here. Highlights which are relevant for business energy users:
- Average industrial prices in Q4 2019 rose by 5.6% for electricity but fell by 13% for gas (all in real terms, not seasonally adjusted).
- Compared to the previous year, the average price paid by electricity consumers in the manufacturing industry, in cash terms excluding CCL, increased by 3.0%. There was moderate variation in the prices by size of consumer. The small and extra-large consumers saw increases in their prices paid of 3.5 and 11% respectively, while the medium and large consumers saw increases of 0.1 and 4.4% respectively.
- In Q4, wholesale gas prices were 50% lower than the previous year. The average price for gas consumers, in cash terms excluding CCL, decreased by 17% overall. The larger consumers saw a much greater decrease in their average price of gas (nearly 20%) compared to an 11% decrease in the medium consumer price. Prices for the small consumers increased by 8.4 per cent over the same period.
- Compared to the same quarter in the previous year, coal fell by 8.2%. The report noted that the coal mix is changing with coal use decreasing with a shift towards renewables. Q4 2018 – Q4 2019 saw a drop by 27% in the price of coal used for electricity generation and a drop of 33% on coal used by gas generation.
- In the manufacturing sector, average annual electricity prices have been on a general upward trend, by 2019 the average electricity price was the highest for over a decade. Average gas prices in manufacturing have been more variable. In 2016 average gas prices were 37% lower than the peak in 2013. Gas prices in the manufacturing sector increased over the next two years but fell in 2019 by 9.3% on the previous year as demand in industries fell and wholesale gas prices fell 42%.
- In 2019, coal prices were 1.6% lower than in the previous year.