Pinergy, the smart energy provider delivering clean electricity, has today shared summary data insights for how Irish homes and businesses used energy throughout 2020. The statistics from this past year show the effects that a country going into lockdown has had on energy usage and changing consumption patterns throughout homes and in businesses. With more people working from home and businesses temporarily closing, the year-on-year changes are significant and highly informative of how the country has adapted to new ways of life forced on the country by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Ireland currently living with heightened Level 5 COVID-19 restrictions over the coming weeks and months of 2021 and with colder weather, we can expect to see heightened levels of energy usage in family homes compared to this period last year. However, the latest figures from Pinergy also indicate that overall commercial energy consumption for January is down 25% compared to last year.
In particular, the lockdowns in Spring and November have had very similar impacts on energy usage, with an increase of electricity demand in family homes of between 4% and 14% from the previous year. The impacts of working from home are particularly evident amongst young professionals (+14%) and suburban families (+11%) where there has been increasing usage even when restrictions were eased throughout 2020. Unsurprisingly, homes of young renters and student accommodations in urban centres saw usage decreases during 2020 of between 10% and 20% as residents left cities to return to their family homes. Pinergy have also seen daily patterns of energy consumption change during 2020 as some people are starting their day later and cooking main meals earlier in the day than 2019.
2020 energy usage across business sectors
Businesses throughout Ireland saw a significant decrease in demand for energy during the Spring lockdown. This was not as evident in the November lockdown as restrictions were not as severe and businesses had adapted to new realities. In particular, demand for energy from retail businesses has been in line with 2019 levels throughout 2020 with a decrease YoY during the spring lockdown of 24% and a small peak during the November lockdown with a 13% increase year-on-year. Hospitality businesses, on the other hand, have had greatly reduced demand during 2020 as many have not been able to provide their full range of services. These businesses have reduced their demand on energy by between 20% and 50% year-on-year at different stages during 2020. Offices and real estate have seen decreases in demand of over 20% at various stages during 2020.
One sector that does not seem to have been affected by the lockdown is Agriculture, which remained largely unaffected throughout 2020 as an essential service.
Enda Gunnell, CEO at Pinergy said, “The energy insights from 2020 will largely come as no surprise. Ireland, like most countries throughout the world, has had a tremendously difficult 2020 with no shortage of uncertainties as the year progressed. In 2021, we are hopeful that there will be less uncertainty, but we are now looking ahead to a different Ireland than before COVID-19 and as a result, we will face new challenges. We are seeing the early warning indicators that commercial consumption of energy is down 25% in January and that wholesale costs of energy are on the rise. We will continue to ensure our customers are the best informed and prepared on their energy usage for whatever challenges are ahead.”