This report details the Energy and Manufacturing Advisory Group’s initial findings and its recommendations to improve the competitiveness and effectiveness of NI’s electricity market. Due to the tight deadline to produce this report, it largely focuses on electricity costs rather than gas. It is hoped that more detailed work will be carried out on local gas costs in the follow up to this report.
Energy costs are a significant challenge for local manufacturers. Evidence reviewed by this group including the NIAUR’s Quarterly Transparency Reports, DETI’s Energy in Northern Ireland 2016 publication and data from some of our largest energy users, indicates that local energy costs faced by the NI manufacturing sector are some of the highest in Europe. This is most acute for large energy users (LEUs) who face electricity prices almost 60% higher than the EU-15 median, while for medium and small/medium users, the price differential is over 40%. Understanding why this is so, and what practical steps can be taken to deliver competitive energy costs to all consumers, especially LEUs and energy intensive manufacturers who compete internationally, have been core to the group’s work.