A report from the Utility Regulator in Northern Ireland has found that larger electricity users such as manufacturers are paying nearly the highest prices in Europe for their energy.
It found that for domestic consumers and for small industrial and commercial consumers, that make up 70% of energy customers, electricity prices were about the EU average due to a regulated tariff. But for the remaining 30% of large manufacturers, prices were among the highest in Europe.
Shane Lynch chief executive of the Utility Regulator said: “We suggest that market economy of scale issues, fuel mix at the wholesale level, energy policy and regulation may be drivers of regional price variances.”
“The data will also be a useful basis for framing discussion around factors affecting energy prices going forward.”
“Clearly aspects of our findings require some discussion, not least of which is the discovery that larger electricity users are paying nearly the highest prices in Europe.”
He also pledged that the Utility Regulator would work to integrate the wholesale market with western Europe by 2016 in an attempt to lower prices.
Manufacturing Northern Ireland chief executive Bryan Gray said: “We welcome the increased transparency that the regulator’s research brings for large energy users. It confirms that electricity costs for manufacturers in NI are almost double those of our competitors in countries such as France and Sweden, and significantly higher than both GB and the Republic of Ireland.
“High costs such as these have a major impact on the competitiveness of Northern Ireland plc and consequently on jobs in the private sector. Action is needed now before we suffer further job losses in manufacturing with consequential damage to our economy.”
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