An increase in wholesale electricity and coal prices helped push the overall energy index, as measured by Bord Gáis, 1% higher in January.

Oil and natural gas prices both fell during the month as warmer than normal temperatures in Northern Europe reduced demand.

The Bord Gáis index noted that wholesale electricity prices rose by 7% last month due to the loss of relatively cheap and efficient power plants because of maintenance.

The increase came despite a fall in the wholesale day ahead gas prices, near record wind volumes and steady carbon prices.

Oil prices month on month were down 2% in January due to growing concerns about emerging economies. These worries and the lower than expected growth figures from China hit oil prices as emerging economies are responsible for rising global demand. 

The natural gas element of the index fell by 5% due to warmer than normal weather in the UK and healthy supply levels. 

But the coal element rose 4% due to supply concerns after a surprise export ban by the Colombian government of one of the country's biggest exporter to coal due to breaches of environmental regulations. 

The energy index in January was, however, 1% lower than in the same month last year.