NIAER Chairman refutes ESBIE criticism of NIE

18 November 2004

NIAER Chairman, Douglas Mc Ildoon today replying to ESBIE criticism of NIE said:-

” Market Opening is a complex process and customers can suffer badly if it is not approached carefully. In Northern Ireland we have had a smooth transition which has avoided the substantial costs and major problems which have occurred elsewhere.

The current phase of market opening has been carried out by industry working groups overseen by Ofreg. ESBIE has been part of that process.

I am satisfied, on the basis of the information provided at each stage of the process by the industry, that the level of resources allocated to market opening was correct to enable all currently eligible customers and all customers who wanted to move to a renewable supplier to do so.

When ESBIE provided Ofreg with new information we asked NIE to increase the level of resources and that was done. When ESBIE last week provided me with information about a new energy product of which I had not previously been informed I immediately started to explore the scope for prudently accelerating the rate of customer transfer. I can only express my surprise that ESBIE should publically criticise NIE before they knew the outcome of my discussions with NIE.”