Power plants account for more than half of gas consumption

CSO figures also show non-residential sector consumed 30% of networked gas last year

Power plants accounted for 56 per cent of total networked gas consumption last year, compared with 30 per cent by the non-residential sector and 14 per cent by the residential sector, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show.

This pattern was broadly similar in the period from 2011 to 2019. Total consumption in 2020 was 57,953 GW hours, an increase of 0.4 per cent over 2019 consumption, and the highest consumption over the 2011-2020 period.

The increase in consumption comprised a 2.3 per cent fall in consumption by power plants, a 3.1 per cent increase by the non-residential sector and a 6.1 per cent increase by the residential sector.

There is strong seasonal variation in networked gas consumption by households. The January to March quarter has by far the highest consumption at 44 per cent of the annual total in 2020. In contrast, July to September accounted for only 9 per cent of total residential consumption in 2020.


Seasonal variation was less evident in other sectors, with the third quarter of 2020 accounting for 28 per cent of total usage by power plants and for 23 per cent of consumption in the non-residential sector

Dublin postal districts accounted for 45 per cent of total residential consumption in 2020, followed by Dublin county, which accounted for a further 17 per cent, and Cork at 11 per cent. Three counties (Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo) are not connected to the gas network.


In terms of the lowest consumption, Kerry, Longford, Roscommon and Wexford have been omitted as they are based on low meter numbers.

Out of the other counties, Mayo had the lowest median consumption in 2020 at 7,417 kWh, while Cavan had the highest at 11,554 kWh compared with the median consumption of 10,253 kWh for all households in the State.

In terms of the number of gas meters by county, Dublin postal district areas accounted for 43 per cent of both non-residential and residential meters in 2020.

The number of non-residential meters increased by 9.6 per cent from 26,526 in 2011 to 29,083 in 2018. It then fell by 0.5 per cent to 28,929 in 2019 and increased by 0.3 per cent to 29,016 in 2020.

The number of residential meters has increased by 8.7 per cent from 632,932 in 2011 to 687,749 in 2020. The residential meters are concentrated in large urban areas such as the Dublin postal districts, Dublin county, Cork, Kildare and Limerick.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter