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Introduction

The Business Energy Use (BEU) survey was first undertaken in 2009 and 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 used 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.

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.

Coverage

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 response rate of around 60%. 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 also excluded.

Both quantity and cost data are collected. Value Added Tax is excluded from the purchase cost.

National Accounts Residence Principle

This release is based on the National Accounts residence principle. This means that energy used abroad by enterprises resident in Ireland is included. Energy used 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 used abroad by enterprises resident in Ireland but includes energy used 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.

Weighting

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.

Questionnaire

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

The form has changed 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 2020 survey form collected data on the following categories:

  • Electricity purchased
  • Electricity self-generated
  • Natural gas
  • Petroleum products
  • Road transport energy products
  • Coal
  • Renewable energy and Energy from waste
  • Other energy
  • Heating system / Air conditioning
  • Other transport energy products

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; and to increase the effective sample so that the survey could be weighted at NACE Rev.2 Division 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 also included in an administrative data source. 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 Business Energy Use survey return) and unit prices to estimate corresponding fuel costs. There were returns for around 150 installations in 2018 and these represented around 80 enterprises after being matched with the CSO Business Register i.e. ETS installations could belong to the same enterprise. 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.

Users requiring definitive ETS figures should contact the EPA.

 - Large Industry Energy Network

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland administers the LIEN scheme. In 2018 there were around 165 LIEN returns. These 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 only 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 large number of returns has resulted in a very high coverage of public sector energy use in the survey. 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 2 or more employees. The ASI was a precursor to the Business Energy Use 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 pre-2009 enterprise-level profiles to distribute the total fuel purchase costs across energy products at enterprise level and then used unit costs to estimate quantities. More generalised profiles were used for enterprises that could not be matched with pre-2009 ASI returns. Adjustments were made for some known fuel use trends that occurred after 2008 e.g. increased proportion of diesel vehicles.

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 Business Energy Use 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 pre-2009 profiles to distribute the total fuel purchase costs across energy products at enterprise level and then used BEU unit costs to estimate quantities. More generalised profiles were used for enterprises that could not be matched with pre-2009 CIP returns.

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 Business Energy Use 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.

Source

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Business Energy Use survey

2,420

1,847

3,272

3,133

3,163

3,174

3,096

2,842

2,887

2,774

Emissions Trading Scheme

79

77

76

75

73

74

76

77

80

81

Large Industry Energy Network

30

39

70

28

31

44

46

62

57

56

Public Sector Energy Programme

191

225

219

246

2,188

2,287

2,300

2,284

2,252

2,084

Annual Services Inquiry

9,680

5,938

4,900

5,091

4,861

5,541

5,862

5,500

5,387

6,563

Census of Industrial Production

4,202

3,447

4,679

3,814

3,937

1,406

1,332

1,349

1,236

1,317

CSO imputed return

25

52

43

32

23

26

32

26

31

27

Total

16,627

11,625

13,259

12,419

14,276

12,552

12,744

12,140

11,930

12,902

Imputation

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.

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 pre-2009 ASI and CIP data and BEU unit costs. Some adjustments were made to reflect trends in the use of energy products since 2009.

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 2009-2018:

Energy Productktoe (2009-2018)
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

 

 Ktoe

1 tonne of peat

1 tonne of petroleum coke

1 tonne of solid recovered fuel

1 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


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 and Tables 5A-5J Other Services Sectors includes NACE Rev.2 58-66, 68-75,77-82 and 90-96.

Revisions

Some figures that were published in the Business Energy Use 2017 release have been revised in this release. Some 2009-2018 data may be revised when the 2019 results are published. Aviation, marine, and rail fuels were not asked as explicit questions in the 2009-2018 surveys. 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.

County

Tables 7A and 7B classify activity by the county that the headquarters of an enterprise is located in. All activity of an enterprise is located 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 Business Energy Use survey with the CSO business register used to calculate weights for the survey and administrative data.