About 2,200 businesses availed of the suspension of gas network charges during the pandemic lockdown, according to figures from the semi-State company which operates the network. 

Gas Networks Ireland - a subsidiary of Ervia - said it would forego charges for three months for businesses not consuming gas as a result of Covid-19.

The savings ranged from €150 to €4,500 over the lifetime of the scheme.

The charges will be written off.

Other figures from GNI show that overall gas demand fell by over 8% in the second three months of the year as the pandemic restrictions came into force.

That followed an increase in demand in the first three months.

As a result, demand decreased by 2.3% year on year in the first six months of 2020.

Usage in domestic and small and medium businesses fell 29% as a result of Covid-19 closures and warmer than usual conditions in late March and April impacting heating demand, the figures show.

All sectors, with the exception of hotel and leisure and associated industries such as laundry service providers, have now returned to normal demand pattern for the time of year.

"Most businesses experienced challenges during Covid-19, which impacted on gas demand, as did reduced domestic demand due to warmer weather," Brian Mullins, Gas Networks Ireland Head of Regulatory Affairs said. 

"This was offset to some extent by large industry demand and the reliance on gas in generating electricity when wind cannot. The flexibility of gas makes it the ideal partner for renewable electricity sources."

"This was offset to some extent by large industry demand and the reliance on gas in generating electricity when wind cannot. The flexibility of gas makes it the ideal partner for renewable electricity sources," he added.