Demand for gas in January was up almost 11% on December’s levels, according to Gas Networks Ireland’s latest gas demand statement.
A drop in temperatures and the return of people to schools and offices after the Christmas holidays accounted for much of the increase.
Demand was so strong that three days during January were among the top 30 for daily gas demand recorded in the last 12 years, the report noted.
Householders have been hit with higher energy bills in recent months as the inflationary environment continues to bite.
The overall level of inflation on an annual basis dropped back to 5% in January from 5.5% in December, according to the Central Statistics Office.
However, there were large variations within the headline figure with electricity costs rising by 22.4%, gas prices rose up 27.7% and the price of home heating oil soared by 50.1% on an annual basis.
Demand up across all sectors
Gas demand increased month-on-month across most commercial sectors, with manufacturing up around a fifth and power generation was 17% higher.
Demand in the education sector was up 15%, while in the office market it was 10% higher. The pharmaceutical sector saw a 10% increase in demand.
Despite the monthly increase in demand, overall gas demand in January was down 6% on the same month last year.
Gas demand in January 2021 reached the highest monthly level in over a decade and the third highest ever.
A windy start to the year
Wind energy provided over two thirds of Ireland’s electricity on New Year’s Day, today’s report noted.
However, that dropped off throughout much of the month, generating a third of total electricity demand – down seven percentage points on December.
Gas remained the primary source of electricity generation, powering 45% of Ireland’s electricity demand in January with coal providing 14%.
Gas-powered electricity peaked at 74%, with a low of 12%, while coal peaked at 25% with a low of 6%.
“Although it was a windy start to the year, gas’s share of electricity generation climbed on December’s total, powering 45% of Ireland’s electricity and again highlighting the essential role that gas plays in our energy mix and in complementing intermittent renewable electricity sources,” Brian Mullins, Gas Networks Ireland’s Head of Regulatory Affairs said.