Review finds significant annual rise in wholesale energy prices
NORTHERN Ireland’s wholesale energy market has shown significant year-on-year price hikes in the cost of gas and electricity, a review has found.
Gas prices rose 9% over the year, but according to the Naturgy Energy Review and Forecast for December, electricity shot up by 35% in 2018.
The hike in wholesale costs has been reflected in domestic bills, with energy firms here moving to raise tariffs for customers.
However, the recent mild winter weather and the resolution of security issues around supply appear to have stabilised the increases.
Wholesale gas prices actually dipped by 1% last month.
December also marked the third full month of trading for the new all-island Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM).
The I-SEM has been designed to encourage competition in the market by optimising use of cross-border transmission assets.
However, despite the dip in wholesale gas, intermittent wind power on the grid contributed to a 14% rise in electricity prices last month. Wind power was down 9% between November and December.
Naturgy energy analyst Lauren Stewart said: “While energy prices have shown significant growth year-on-year, a recent convergence of events of temperatures above seasonal norms, high levels of storage and falling oil prices have meant gas prices remain bearish.
“Meanwhile, electricity prices are seeing a steady increase. As the I-SEM completes its third month of trading, we expect the system to further embed itself in the market and further increase competition.”
Competition: Lauren Stewart