Gas bills for consumers are on course to be significantly lower this year year compared with last. It’s not just because of the drop in the wholesale cost of gas which has already led to lower retail tariffs though that helps.
Another reason why consumers are likely to be spending less on gas this year is the milder weather. It may not be considered a good summer but temperatures are reasonably high. Consumption has been falling according to one gas supplier I spoke to. It’s not strictly scientific but my own household usage is down 15% this year compared with 2015. But a change in the winter to colder than average temperatures could upset this currently benign factor.
In the meantime energy firm Vayu says that abundant supply is helping to keep a lid on prices. The company’s senior energy analyst Gillian Lawler said: “Updated storage figures show European stocks are extremely healthy.”
She reported however that Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) deliveries had been disappointing as producers diverted stocks away from Europe to bolster prices. Nevertheless deliveries into Europe were still up 20% year on year. In the meantime she said pipeline gas was making up for unpredictable LNG availability.
Meanwhile the average wholesale price of electricity in the Irish market so far during August has been 3.2 pence per kilowatt hour – a decrease of 11% compared to August last year and a decrease of just 1.2% compared with last month. Vayu said the year-on-year drop in prices was attributed mainly to lower prices for gas, which was the main energy source used to generate electricity in Northern Ireland.