European legislation required modifications to be made to the Northern Ireland electricity market in 1999, resulting in a progressive liberalisation of the market, allowing larger users to choose suppliers which have access to generation from independent sources, other than the Bulk Supply Tariff offered by Northern Ireland Electricity. The market has been opened from 26% (by gross demand) in July 1999, to 30% from April 2000, 32% from October 2000 and will open further to 35% from April 2001.
If your company/organisation uses more than 0.79 million units of electricity per annum (0.79 GWh), then under the EU Directive : Internal Market in Electricity (IME) you will be entitled from 1 April 2001 to buy electricity in the competitive market from the supplier of your choice. This notice will inform you who might sell you electricity and what steps you as a customer need to take.
Approach a Second Tier Supplier (STS), which will be able to offer you a contract based on energy derived from Independent Power Producers, rather than the Bulk Supply Tariff at which you are currently supplied. There are a number of STSs on the attached list and further applicants are listed which may become licenced before 1 April 2001, (see Annex A). Three of the attached licencees are currently active in supplying the eligible market in the 2000/01 year (Energia, ESB and Powergen). Further details are included in the annex regarding the intentions of other companies in next year’s market. You must approach them. Due to Data Protection laws it is not possible for Ofreg to give a list of eligible customers to the supply companies.
Step 2 :
It is advisable to contact a number of suppliers, and negotiations will be facilitated by obtaining your historic load data from NIE by contacting it at 02890 661100. This will help prospective new suppliers derive an offer price. It will also help if you obtain from NIE details of your supply voltage, and Use of System (UoS) code as suppliers may require this to determine your correct UoS charges. You must also have signed a Connection Agreement with NIE, and NIE will send, in the near future, a Connection Agreement for your signature.
Step 3 :
In order to participate in the market you must have a half-hour on-line meter installed, which is linked to a telecom modem. You should check, and if your premises does not have a half hour meter, then you will also need a new/upgraded meter and a telecom modem fitted at your premises. This is necessary to participate in the market, and a dedicated British Telecom line is required, with a typical installation lead time of about five weeks. The cost of upgrading meter technology will be borne by the customer.
The installation cost of the BT line will also be borne by the customer, along with the modem cost; the line rental costs will be recovered in the Use of System (UoS) costs which are levied by NIE. If you wish to participate in the market you should contact a meter service provider to install on-line equipment. NIE Metering service is your current meter service provider and can arrange to carry out the necessary work on your behalf. You may contact NIE Meter Service (Denis Kelly) on 02890 689213. Your supplier may also appoint or advise on the choice of meter operator. It is important that you make early contact with your meter service provider as there will be a lead time for the work required.
Each customer which qualifies as “eligible” in the market from 1 April 2001 will receive a letter from Ofreg advising them of their status.
Not all licence holders are active. Nigen Supply Ltd and Premier Power Ltd will not be operating under their supply licences. ESB, Energia and Powergen are already active in the market. Scottish Power has indicated that it will be active in the market from 1 April 2001.
Northern Ireland Second Tier Licence Holders - contact names and tel. Nos
Customer & Corporate Affairs
PO Box 40
Tel 01473 688688
Regional Sales Manager
Westwood Business Park
Tel 024 76424242
Electricity Supply Board
Tel 0845 3098138
Ballylumford Power Station
Larne BT40 3RS
Tel 028 93381100