Energy prices have fallen over the past month and are now 5% lower than at the same stage last year.

The latest Bord Gáis Energy Index, which monitors electricity, gas, oil and coal prices, says the overall energy basket was 1% lower in October than during the previous month.

The fall came despite a turbulent month which saw considerable fluctuations in the price of Brent crude oil, while wholesale UK natural gas prices fell marginally on the back of stable supply and mild weather conditions. 

A rise in the volume of electricity produced by wind turbines and lower wholesale UK gas prices applied downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices.

There was no change in the oil element of the index last month, although Bord Gáis said that this apparent stability hides some major fluctuations in Brent crude prices as it responded to a series of positive and negative factors which eventually cancelled each other out.

Oil prices continued to be supported by events in Libya and the country's output has become a major near-term uncertainty hanging over the market, Bord Gáis said. Easing geopolitical tensions and rising US crude inventories were some of the factors which counteracted upward price pressures.

The natural gas element of the index fell by 2% with the stronger euro against sterling behind some of the drop. Bord Gáis noted that forward prices weakened slightly as the pressure on replenishing stocks relaxed somewhat.

Bord Gáis noted that the coal element of the index rose by 1%. The company said that despite the environmental implications, abundant European supplies and a crash in the cost of abating carbon from the power stations, coal fired power plants increased their dominance in European power generation this year.

In October, the electricity element of the index fell by 1%. The month saw an increase in the volume of electricity being produced by wind turbines, which displaces more expensive traditional thermal electricity generators from the system. 

Commenting on today's index, John Heffernan, a power trader at Bord Gáis Energy said that economic data from China which suggested that the economy is improving, along with the US Federal Reserve’s decision not to slow its quantitative easing programme supported Brent oil prices last month. 

"However, these upward forces were counteracted by improved OPEC and non-OPEC oil supplies, expanding oil stocks in the US and a significant increase in the value of the US dollar versus the euro late in the month. There is an expectation that oil prices will reduce should the OPEC countries avoid further supply disruption which have affected a number of OPEC nations in recent times," he added.