01/11/2007

Ireland Unites Electricity Market

An Irish Single Electricity Market [SEM] became a reality at midnight and involved the combination of the two separate wholesale markets North and South into one cross-border market.

The new single market is the first cross-border market of its kind in Europe and the regulatory authorities said it was both more efficient and cost-effective.

Integration of the two markets will improve security of electricity supply and competition in providing supply "an improved price outlook than would otherwise be possible" according to the regulators, North and South.

All electricity produced on the island will now be sold into one large 'pool' and supply companies then buy their power out of the pool.

The market has been specifically designed to set the cheapest possible price for electricity at all times - with no one company having an undue influence over electricity prices.

Tom Reeves Chairman of the Commission for Energy Regulation in the Republic and Iain Osborne, Chief Utility Regulator in the North, both strongly welcomed the groundbreaking move.

In a joint statement that acknowledged "the significant effort and co-operation across the industry in achieving this goal".

They added: "Go-live of the SEM is the culmination of a number of years of cross-border co-operation, as both regulators worked towards the common goal of introducing a market that would benefit customers in all parts of the island."

Regulatory matters about the all-island market will be handled by a new SEM committee - established under law in both jurisdictions - and compromising members from both authorities and an independent member and deputy independent member.

Harry McCracken, Group Managing Director of Viridian Power and Energy, welcomed the launch of the Single Electricity Market.

He said: "We are delighted to welcome a new era in the electricity industry on the island of Ireland.

"Viridian has played a leading role in promoting and developing the all-island electricity market and we believe that the single electricity market will increasingly deliver choice and competitively priced electricity supplies to customers throughout the island."

(BMcC)


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