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The Business Energy Use (BEU) survey was first undertaken in 2009. It has been conducted on an annual basis since then. The primary purpose of the survey is to provide estimates of the quantities and costs of energy products purchased by enterprises in the Industry and Services sectors to operate their businesses. The CSO Business Statistics Division is responsible for selecting the sample, obtaining returns, and conducting initial editing. In 2013 the CSO Environment and Climate Division was assigned responsibility for the questionnaire design, detailed processing, integration of other data sources, weighting, and publication.

Methodology changes for 2019

Changes to the methodology in 2019 have impacted on the 2009-2019 results:

- In previous releases, the distribution of total fuel purchase costs from the CSO Annual Services Inquiry and the CSO Census of Industrial Production were largely done using pre-2009 ASI and CIP returns that had a breakdown by fuel. For the 2019 results, we changed to using the distribution of the costs of energy purchases in the 2009 to 2019 Business Energy Use surveys. This change used more recent data, allowed variation from year to year, and allowed the transition to newer fuels to be incorporated. In the previous methodology some of the distributions were done at enterprise level whereas the new approach uses 10 aggregated NACE sectors.

- The availability of detailed electricity meter data indicated that the previous results were probably being over-weighted. The SEAI Large Industry Energy Network enterprises and larger respondents to the SEAI Public Sector Energy Programme have been given a weighting factor of one which means that their return is not multiplied to represent other returns. Previously only the EPA Emissions Trading Scheme and selected other returns were given a weight of one.

- More use has been made of the electricity meter data to ensure that the large energy users were properly accounted for. In our 2021 Metered Electricity Consumption release, a very small number of meters used 23% of the total metered electricity consumption.

- The 2019 Business Energy Use survey was conducted during 2020 and the response rate was impacted by Covid-19. To adjust for this, the CSO has imputed some 2019 survey returns based on 2018 and previous years figures. The response rates for 2019 to some of the other data sources appear to have been adversely impacted also e.g. Annual Services Inquiry and Public Sector Energy Efficiency Programme. Some returns have been imputed for these data sources.

Legal basis

The BEU survey is a compulsory survey conducted under the Statistics (Business Energy Use Survey) Order 2018 (S.I. No. 509 of 2018) made under the Statistics Act, 1993.


The sampling unit for the survey is an enterprise. The samples for the 2009 to 2016 surveys were selected from enterprises with 10 or more employees on the CSO Business Register. In 2017 the sample was broadened to include enterprises with 3-9 employees to give a better representation of smaller companies in the weighting. The annual sample is around 5,000 with a typical response rate of around 60%. The response rate was lower at 45% for the 2019 survey. A smaller sample was used in 2010 when only Industry enterprises were covered. In 2011, only Services enterprises were included in the sample.

Energy use by enterprises and family farms in NACE Divisions 01-03 (Agriculture, forestry and fishing) are not included in the results. Energy use by households is excluded also.

Both quantity and purchase cost data are collected in the Business Energy Use survey. Value Added Tax is excluded from the purchase cost.

Wind farms

Purchases and sales of electricity from wind farms are not identified separately in these survey results. Electricity generated by wind farms and sold to the grid is included in the electricity purchased figures.

National Accounts

This release is based on the National Accounts residence principle. This means that energy purchased abroad by enterprises resident in Ireland is included. Energy purchased in Ireland by foreign resident enterprises is not included e.g. fuel purchased by foreign hauliers in Ireland. The territory principle, which is used in Energy Balances and in the Greenhouse Gas Emission inventory, does not include energy purchased abroad by enterprises resident in Ireland but includes energy purchased in Ireland by enterprises that are not resident in Ireland e.g. road hauliers. This methodological difference is particularly important for aviation transport fuels.

Transformation fuels

The use of natural gas to produce electricity was collected as a separate item in the questionnaire. The use of other fuels such as coal and peat were recorded under their own categories and the transformation use of those fuels was not collected in the BEU questionnaire. In some cases, it can be inferred e.g. purchases of coal by enterprises producing electricity.


The CSO’s Business Register provided the frame from which the annual BEU survey sample was selected. The register was used to weight sample data to the population by calculating factors based on the number of employees in the sample and in the register at NACE Rev.2 Division level. Some non-typical returns were assigned a weight of one to prevent them having an influence on other returns.


The BEU e-Form is available on the CSO’s website

The form has changed substantially since the survey commenced in 2009. A specific question on road transport fuels was introduced in the 2013 survey.

The scope of the survey includes purchases of transformation fuels, e.g. to produce electricity, as well as final energy consumption uses.

The 2021 survey form collected data on the following categories:

  • Electricity purchased
  • Electricity self-generated
  • Natural gas
  • Petroleum products
  • Road transport energy products (added in 2013)
  • Aviation transport energy products (added in 2019)
  • Marine and inland waterways transport energy products (added in 2019)
  • Trains and trams transport energy products (added in 2019)
  • Coal and peat
  • Renewable energy and Energy from waste

Additional Data Sources

The survey returns were boosted with the inclusion of data from non-CSO administrative data sources and CSO structural business surveys. This was done to:

  • Maximise the use of existing data;
  • To increase consistency with air emissions and energy balances data;
  • To increase the effective sample so that the survey could be weighted at NACE Rev.2 Division level; and
  • To allow estimates to be made at county level as there is a lack of energy statistics available at this level.

The additional data sources comprise a mixture of enterprise and local kind-of-activity unit. Some of the additional data sources only collect quantity data while others only collect data on fuel purchase costs. The CSO used average costs at NACE sector level to overcome these shortcomings.

To integrate the administrative data with the survey returns, the CSO matched the administrative registers with the CSO Business Register to obtain information on NACE sector and employment and to ensure that no company was included more than once from the different data sources. In some cases, a survey respondent was included in an administrative data source also. In these cases, the CSO compared and combined the responses as necessary e.g. the different data sources collected different energy product categories.

The CSO obtained access to the administrative microdata under the Statistics Act, 1993 which allows such data to be used by the CSO for statistical purposes.

- Emissions Trading Scheme

The Environmental Protection Agency collects quantity data from licenced installations on an annual basis. The data include fuel quantities only. The CSO used a mixture of monetary data from other data sources (e.g. the ETS enterprise may have made a BEU survey return) and unit prices to estimate corresponding fuel costs. ETS returns were matched with the CSO Business Register. Some ETS installations belonged to the same enterprise and hence were counted as only one return by the CSO even though separate returns were made to the EPA. The ETS scheme comprises large industrial users and hence accounts for a very large proportion of energy consumption relative to the number of returns. Some energy products, such as electricity, were not collected as part of the ETS return but it was extracted in some cases by the CSO from EPA Annual Environmental Reports or from other data sources such as electricity meter data.

Users requiring definitive ETS figures should contact the EPA.

 - Large Industry Energy Network

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland administers the LIEN scheme. LIEN returns typically relate to large energy users. Both quantity and cost data are collected. While the CSO examined all LIEN data, in some cases we used the return from the BEU if the enterprise was included in both data sources.

Users requiring definitive LIEN figures should contact the SEAI.

 - Public Sector Energy Programme

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland administers the energy monitoring and reporting scheme (M&R) under the PSEP. The returns comprise a mixture of utility meter data and directly collected data. The coverage of the scheme has broadened considerably in recent years to include more schools. PSEP returns were included by the CSO if the public sector body had validated their meter numbers and submitted a return to SEAI for non-metered fuels. This data source has resulted in a very high coverage of public sector energy use in the survey even though the BEU survey itself does not include this NACE sector. Only quantity data were collected. The CSO used unit prices to estimate costs.

Users requiring definitive M&R figures should contact the SEAI.

- Annual Services Inquiry

The ASI is an annual multi-purpose CSO survey of the services sector with two or more employees. The ASI was a precursor to the BEU survey. Detailed fuel purchase costs were collected in occasional years prior to 2009. Since then only the total cost of fuel purchases was collected each year. The CSO used the BEU survey 2009-2019 expenditure data to create profiles of expenditure by fuel, year and NACE sector. These profiles were applied to the ASI enterprise’s total fuel purchase cost to estimate the expenditure on each fuel. Specialised fuels, e.g. jet kerosene, were excluded. BEU unit costs were then used to estimate quantities.

ASI data was not used in cases where the enterprise was a respondent in the BEU survey or was included in the administrative data. The main purpose of using the ASI data was to get coverage across all services NACE Divisions especially medium and smaller sized enterprises. The ASI was particularly useful in 2010 when the services sector was not included in the BEU sample.

- Census of Industrial Production

The Census of Industrial Production is an annual multi-purpose CSO survey of enterprises with 10 or more employees. The CIP was a precursor to the BEU survey in so far as detailed fuel purchase costs were collected in occasional years prior to 2009. Since then only the total cost of fuel purchases was collected. The CSO used the BEU survey 2009-2019 expenditure data to create profiles of expenditure by fuel, year and NACE sector. These profiles were then applied to the CIP enterprise’s total fuel purchase cost to estimate their expenditure on each fuel. Specialised fuels e.g., jet kerosene were excluded. BEU unit costs were then used to estimate quantities.

CIP data were not used in cases where the enterprise was a respondent in the BEU survey or in the administrative data. The main purpose of using the CIP data was to get coverage across all industry NACE Divisions. The CIP was particularly useful in 2011 when the industry sector was not included in the BEU sample.

 - Overview of Returns by Data Source at Enterprise Level

The following table indicates the number of enterprise returns used to compile the BEU survey results. To distinguish the ETS and non-ETS sectors, we classified all ETS returns as ETS. In contrast, in some cases where there was both LIEN and BEU data for an enterprise and if the BEU return was used, then the source was described as BEU. The table shows how the inclusion of other data sources has greatly increased the effective sample to allow weighting to be done at NACE Rev. 2 Division level rather than at a more aggregated level. This more detailed level allows for more flexibility in aggregating the data e.g. energy industries.

Business Energy Use survey 2,420 1,846 3,271 3,130 3,159 3,173 3,094 2,838 2,884 2,770 2,148
Emissions Trading Scheme 77 75 74 73 71 72 74 75 78 79 79
Large Industry Energy Network 24 33 64 22 26 36 38 52 49 47 49
Public Sector Energy Programme 188 218 211 241 2,255 2,354 2,369 2,364 2,377 2,325 1,982
Annual Services Inquiry 9,674 5,935 4,897 5,088 4,858 5,536 5,857 5,494 5,383 6,560 4,370
Census of Industrial Production 4,193 3,440 4,673 3,809 3,936 1,406 1,331 1,348 1,234 1,317 1,327
CSO imputed return 29 64 46 46 25 29 50 50 58 64 240
Total 16,605 11,611 13,236 12,409 14,330 12,606 12,813 12,221 12,063 13,162 10,195


While the survey is enterprise focused, in some cases a fuel approach was needed to ensure that niche fuels were accurately included in the survey results e.g. wood waste. The CSO added a small number of imputed returns in cases where an annual survey return was not available for a company with very specialised energy use. Additional returns were imputed for 2019 because of the adverse impact of Covid during the data collection phase in 2020.

Some of the data sources had only quantity or monetary data and the CSO imputed the missing data using actual returns from other enterprises.

The fuels collected varied across each data source and in some cases the CSO imputed some data at fuel level as necessary to fill these gaps.

The breakdown of the ASI and CIP data by energy product was imputed using BEU survey 2009-2019 expenditure data and BEU unit costs.

Explicit questions were not included in the survey for road transport fuels for 2009-2012 and for other transport fuels for 2009-2018. The CSO used a variety of data sources to produce estimates for these fuels for those years.

The BEU sample excludes NACE sectors O (Public Administration), P (Education), and Q (Health and Residential Care). Hence data for these NACE sectors come from the Public Sector Energy Programme which has fuel quantities only. The CSO used BEU unit prices to estimate purchase costs for the PSEP returns.

Consumption units

A kilotonne of oil equivalent (ktoe) is a common unit of measurement which enables quantities of different fuels to be compared and aggregated. The following conversion factors were used for 2009-2019:

Energy Productktoe (2009-2019)
1 kilowatt hour of electricity 0.000000086
1 kilowatt hour of natural gas 0.000000086
1 litre of heavy fuel oil 0.0009849 / 1062
1 litre of diesel 0.0010344 / 1183
1 litre of kerosene 0.0010556 / 1250
1 litre of liquid petroleum gas 0.0011263 / 1915
1 tonne of coal 0.000665
1 tonne of woodchip 0.0003181
1 tonne of woodpellets 0.0004127
1 litre of petrol 0.0010650 / 1325
1 litre of autodiesel 0.0010344 / 1183
1 litre of biodiesel 0.0000008
1 kilowatt hour of biogas 0.000000086
1 kilowatt hour of landfill gas 0.000000086
1 tonne of tallow 0.0009052
1 litre of jet kerosene 0.0010533  / 1250
1 litre of aviation petrol 0.0010650 / 1325
Ktoe1 tonne of peat1 tonne of petroleum coke1 tonne of solid recovered fuel1 tonne of wood waste
2009 0.0001834 0.0007663 0.0003517 0.0003043
2010 0.0001895 0.0007663 0.0003060 0.0004115
2011 0.0001920 0.0007663 0.0003142 0.0003914
2012 0.0001850 0.0007767 0.0003250 0.0002749
2013 0.0001918 0.0007697 0.0003544 0.0002707
2014 0.0002037 0.0007797 0.0003565 0.0002765
2015 0.0002045 0.0007613 0.0003356 0.0002805
2016 0.0001985 0.0007642 0.0003279 0.0002711
2017 0.0001934 0.0007555 0.0003815 0.0002657
2018 0.0001987 0.0007456 0.0003612 0.0002641
2019 0.0002025 0.0007581 0.0003797 0.0002669

NACE Rev. 2

The Statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community is NACE. The NACE classification is a way of categorising economic activities into a common structure. The survey data were weighted at NACE Division level as this allows more flexibility in combining different NACE Divisions and is more useful for compiling energy accounts and using the results in National Accounts Supply and Use tables.

In energy and emission inventory statistics, Transport is used to represent transport fuels rather than the NACE meaning of the transport sector. In the BEU results, transport fuels used by other NACE sectors were assigned to the NACE sector of the reporting enterprise. For example, road transport fuels used by waste collection vehicles were attributed to the NACE Rev.2 classification for the waste industry.

In Tables 3A and 3B Other Manufacturing includes NACE Rev.2 13-15, 19 and 28-33 and Other Services Sectors includes NACE Rev.2 69-75, 77-82 and 90-96. While in Tables 4A-4J Tables 5A-5J Other Services Sectors includes NACE Rev.2 58-66, 68-75,77-82 and 90-96.


See Methodology changes section above. In addition development of the questionnaire over time has resulted in some fuel questions being asked more explicitly rather than as part of a drop-down menu. If possible a time series for marine fuels will be compiled for a future release.

Renewable Fuels

Road diesel is pre-blended with biodiesel before being sold on forecourts. Hence purchases at forecourts include some amount of renewable fuels (around 5%). The CSO has not made an adjustment to the autodiesel figures to account for this mixing hence our estimate for biodiesel is lower than the actual levels and our estimate of road diesel is correspondingly higher.

The range of renewable fuels being used has broadened considerably in recent years. Amendments were made to the questionnaire to reflect this trend e.g. taking some fuels out of drop-down menus to ask them as individual questions.

In the Business Energy Use 2015 release, we published separate data for wood chips, wood pellets and wood waste. In subsequent releases we have combined wood chips, wood pellets, wood waste and wood logs as there were inconsistencies in the reporting of them across enterprises and across years.

Road Transport Fuels

These were not explicitly collected in the 2009-2012 BEU surveys hence the results presented for those years should be treated with caution as they were mainly compiled from the other data sources. In some cases, a BEU respondent provided data for road fuel in the 2009-2012 surveys e.g. under diesel. The CSO reassigned such fuel to autodiesel if it was possible to identify it or if the respondent had submitted a comment to that affect with the survey return e.g. a return from a road haulier which contained a large quantity under diesel.

Rail Transport Fuels

There were no explicit questions on rail fuels in the 2009-2018 questionnaires however some enterprises submitted data under items such as diesel. The results are derived from a mixture of the survey data and other administrative data including company reports.

Aviation Transport Fuels

There were no explicit questions on aviation fuels in the 2009-2018 questionnaires however some enterprises submitted data under items such as kerosene. The CSO examined returns from airline companies and used additional data on flights by Irish airlines to estimate the quantity and cost of these fuels.

The estimates are based on the National Accounts residence principle. Hence fuel consumption relating to flights by Irish airlines between foreign countries are included. This methodological difference has resulted in a substantial difference with the Energy Balance estimates for these fuels.

We used the Revenue Return of Oil Movements data to construct estimates for some companies that were not in the survey returns e.g. aviation petrol users.

Marine Transport Fuels

There were no explicit questions on marine fuels in the 2009-2018 questionnaire and there were limited data available from other sources. There are no figures for marine fuels included in this release.


Tables 7A and 7B classify activity by the county that the headquarters of an enterprise is located in. All activity of an enterprise is attributed to the same county even if there are local units in other counties. A small number of enterprises used addresses abroad.

Energy Balances

The CSO compared the results with the SEAI energy balances. There are methodological differences between both series e.g. definition of the Transport sector and the residence versus territorial principle. There is good alignment for some fuels and differences for other fuels between both series. The resolution of these differences could result in future revisions to the CSO figures. In general, the energy balances use a top-down approach to distribute fuel use across NACE sectors whereas a bottom-up approach is used in the BEU survey with the CSO business register used to calculate weights for the survey and administrative data.