Latest quarterly transparency reports on NI’s retail energy market published

The Quarterly Transparency Reports (QTRs) for Q1 2020 and Q2 2020 are the latest in a series of Utility Regulator reports that provide a range of information about the retail energy market in Northern Ireland. Due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions we agreed with industry that data submissions for quarter 1 could be deferred until the quarter 2 submissions. Therefore we are publishing both reports together.

The QTR presents data collected by us as part of the Retail Energy Market Monitoring (REMM) framework. REMM requires network companies and suppliers to submit data on a range of indicators to enhance our transparency around market behaviours and regulatory compliance.  We use the information outlined in the report to review the progress and impact of supply competition; build knowledge for regulatory decisions; comply with EU Third Package mandatory requirements on market monitoring; allow other interested stakeholders to understand more readily the activity within our energy markets; and to help promote the interests of consumers.

Quarterly Transparency Report for Q1 2020

  • The semester 2 (July to December) 2019 electricity pricing data is sourced from Eurostat and individual supplier’s submissions under the REMM framework. The current pricing data illustrates the following:
  • NI domestic electricity prices continue to rank amongst the lowest in Europe at 17.5 p/kWh and are considerably lower than the Republic of Ireland (22.4 p/kWh), the EU median (19.2 p/kWh) and the UK (19.5 p/kWh).
  • The NI I and C electricity price for the Very Small connections (which represent c68% of I&C connections) is 16.4 p/kWh, and is lower than the Republic of Ireland (19.3 p/kWh), the UK (17.2 p/kWh) and the EU median (16.5 p/kWh).
  • For medium customers, NI prices are lower than RoI and the UK. For large I and C customers (c0.02% of connections) NI prices are just above RoI but remain lower than the UK.
  • The domestic gas prices in NI are amongst the lowest in Europe at 4.78 p/kWh. This is less than RoI at 6.73 p/kWh, the EU median at 6.76 p/kWh. NI prices are slightly higher than the rest of the UK at 4.44 p/kWh.
  • Market activity in the electricity domestic and I and C sectors continues to illustrate a gradual change in the market dynamics. Power NI (the incumbent price controlled electricity supplier) retain their dominant position with 55.5% of connections in the domestic market with continued growth of the competing suppliers.
  • Electricity switching activity in Q1 2020 decreased from the previous quarter although domestic customers continue to engage in the electricity market with over 27,000 switches completed during this quarter. There was a notable increase in Budget Energy’s connections for this quarter (>4,800).
  • In the gas sector, I and C switching activity increased in Greater Belfast with the I and C switching rate increasing from 0.8% in Q4 2019 to 3.4% in Q1 2020. However, the I and C switching rate for Ten Towns decreased from 1.3% to 0.9% for the same period. 

Quarterly Transparency Report for Q2 2020

  • The pricing data reported in Q2 is also the semester 2 data, described above.
  • Power NI (the incumbent price controlled electricity supplier) retain their dominant position with a relatively stable share this quarter of 55.4% of connections in the domestic market.
  • Electricity switching activity in Q2 2020 has decreased from the previous quarter.  There was a significant decrease in domestic switching from a switching rate of 3.3% to 1.3% in the current quarter – likely attributable to the impacts of Covid-19 and the lockdown measures implemented during this period. There were over 10,900 domestic switches completed during Q2 2020 and a notable increase in Electric Ireland’s connections for this quarter (>6,000). I and C electricity switching increased in the period to a switching rate of 4.9% (from 1.7% in the previous quarter), with over 5,300 switches completed. 
  • In the gas sector, I and C switching activity decreased in Greater Belfast with I and C switching rate decreasing from 3.4% in Q1 2020 to 0.5% in Q2 2020. However, the I and C switching rate for Ten Towns increased from 0.9% to 4.2% for the same period. 

Any comments or queries in relation to this paper should be made to:

John Magill

Utility Regulator

Queens House

14 Queen Street

Belfast BT1 6ED  

Direct Tel: +44 (0) 28 9031 6332

Copies of all documents can be made available in large print, Braille, audio cassette and a variety of relevant minority languages if required.

Please note that due to data errors identified after initial publication, the Q1 2020 & Q2 2020 QTR reports were updated on 16th September 2020. Any previous report should be disregarded.