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The game is afoot

Anna Moss Team Lead

Just over a week after Electric Ireland announced a price increase for its domestic customers, this week’s SEM Chart of the Week takes a look at competition in the electricity supply market. Over the last four years, the energy supply markets have been subject to change on a variety of fronts. Looking specifically at the small business market, Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) data shows that overall electricity consumption in this sector has risen, up almost 3% over the four-year period to Q3 2018. This is an interesting trend as it occurs alongside a decrease in the number of sites (~1%) captured under the small business definition, suggesting that, on average, the volume of electricity consumed per site is rising. The business sector as a whole sees a much greater focus on electricity, with ten times as many electricity sites as business gas sites. You know my methods There have also been changes in those providing energy – our chart in Figure 1 compares supplier shares of sites in the small business electricity market, using data from the CRU’s quarterly Electricity and Gas Retail Markets Report. Mirroring the changes recorded in the domestic market, the supply market to the small business sector has seen market share losses for larger players in favour of smaller suppliers. In Q3 2018, the CRU recorded seven suppliers offering non-domestic electricity propositions to small business customers – Electric Ireland, Bord Gáis Energy, Energia, SSE Airtricity, Flogas, Naturgy and GoPower. A three-pipe problem As the largest supplier, Electric Ireland faces rising competition, with its share of small business electricity sites falling from 50% in Q3 2014 to 38% in Q3 2018. At the same time, the regulator records a 12pp increase in share held by the “Others”, rising from next to no shareholding in Q3 2014 to ...

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