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Energy usage in Ireland dropped 12 per cent in just three years

Ireland has had the second largest drop in energy consumption in the EU since the financial crisis hit.

Image: Three pin plug photo via Shutterstock

ENERGY USAGE IN Ireland dropped by 12 per cent in just three years, according to new figures from the European Union’s statistical office.

The figures released by Eurostat show that Ireland had the second largest drop in energy consumption in the EU between 2008 and 2011 with only Lithuania seeing a bigger decrease.

The study looked solely at consumption figures and did not assign a reason for the drop in energy use – although it noted that the Irish figures are broadly in line with the EU as a whole, which has seen energy consumption decline since the financial crisis took hold.

Energy prices have risen significantly in Ireland in recent years with energy providers blaming increased charges imposed by the Commission for Energy Regulation, the wholesale price of gas, the euro exchange rate and the cost of the new electricity interconnecter with Britain among the factors for the price hikes.

The top five energy consumers in the EU – Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Spain – accounted for almost two thirds of the total usage of the 27 EU member states.

All but four countries saw decreases in their energy usage from 2008 onwards. Only Malta, Estonia, Belgium and Poland saw an increase.

The Eurostat figures also found that Ireland imports almost 89 per cent of its energy, making it one of the most energy dependent countries in the EU.

The number of people unable to afford their energy bills has grown dramatically. Last month the Commissioner for Energy Regulation said almost 2,400 households had their natural gas disconnected in Ireland in just three months in 2012.

Read: 56 per cent of Irish homes ‘go into debt to pay essential bills’ >

Read: ‘Leave the immersion on’: Your tips for saving energy… and money >

Explainer: Why energy prices are rising and what you can do to save money >

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