Electricity Regulator Publishes Options for Paying for Energy Interconnectors

Published: 10 September 2002

Consultation opened on 10 September 2002. Consultation closed 08 October 2002.

Summary

Electricity and Gas Regulator, Douglas McIldoon, today published a consultation paper entitled “Paying for Energy Interconnectors” which examines the options which have been proposed by NIE for reducing the cost of financing the Scotland / Northern Ireland electricity interconnector. The consultation paper also seeks views on options for the gas interconnector which are currently being considered by its owners.

Electricity and Gas Regulator, Douglas McIldoon, today published a consultation paper entitled “Paying for Energy Interconnectors” which examines the options which have been proposed by NIE for reducing the cost of financing the Scotland / Northern Ireland electricity interconnector. The consultation paper also seeks views on options for the gas interconnector which are currently being considered by its owners.

Commenting Mr McIldoon said:

“Northern Ireland’s gas and electricity interconnectors with Scotland are gradually changing the energy market in Northern Ireland. They are also having an impact in the Irish Republic.

“The Moyle Interconnector, with a capacity of 500MW has been developed as a strategic infrastructure project to link the previously isolated NI electricity system to the systems of Great Britain (GB) and the European mainland. The potential benefits of access to these larger systems for the NI electricity consumer include downward pressure on electricity prices from increased competition in generation along with enhanced security and diversity of supply.

“The Interconnector assets for both gas and electricity are currently owned and operated by private companies (Premier Power and Moyle Interconnector plc, a Viridian subsidiary) which are financed by both debt and equity capital. This consultation paper examines the option of transferring these assets to a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which would be able to finance the assets entirely by debt thereby reducing the cost of capital. The SPV would have no share capital and would be a not-for-profit organisation. The operation of the assets would be sub-contracted to other companies under competitive tender.”

The consultation paper is available on the OFREG web-site http://ofreg.nics.gov.uk or alternatively via post from Ofreg, Brookmount Buildings, 42 Fountain St, Belfast BT1 5EE, tel. 028 9031 1575, fax 028 9031 1740. Comments from interested parties are invited by 8 October 2002, in writing or by e-mail to Michael Lowry at OFREG e-mail: michael.lowry@ofregni.gov.uk.

For further information or to arrange an interview with Douglas McIldoon, please contact Nick Carson on 028 9127 5965 or 07711 482807

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