Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 04 July 2013

Venue: Room 30

The meeting began at 10.06am in public session:

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chairperson's Business

Members were informed of the Committee for Finance & Personnel's intention to receive an oral briefing from the Ulster Bank regarding branch closures. The ETI Committee are invited to contribute to a meeting scheduled for next week.

Agreed: Members to contact the Committee Office to register their intention to attend the Committee for Finance and Personnel meeting.

Members were informed of the correspondence from Manufacturing NI regarding the Committee's review of electricity policy.

Agreed: Members are content to include the paper in written evidence for the review.

Members considered a request from the Deputy Chair to attend a seminar on developing energy projects.

Agreed: Members are content for the Member to attend on behalf of the Committee and report back.

Phil Flanagan arrived 10.10 am

Member were informed that the list of representatives of the North-South Steering Group on Horizon 2020 is available

Agreed: Members are content for the Committee to receive an oral briefing in the autumn, comprising representation from both jurisdictions.

Members discussed R&D and Horizon 2020 during the Oireachtas visit

Agreed: Chair to write the Joe McHugh, T.D, Co-Chair of the British Irish Inter-Parliamentary Council.

Members considered authority, during periods of recess, to submit views on the releasing or withholding of information in any non-routine/contentious FoI requests.

Agreed: Members are content to delegate the authority to respond to the Chair and Deputy Chair.

Phil Flanagan left 10.13 am

Members discussed the Review of Consumer Council

Agreed: To ask the Department to send all information relevant to the CCNI review prior to release.

Members noted that the Tourism report has been released.

3. Minutes of meeting held on Thursday 27 June 2013.

Agreed: The draft minutes of the meeting on 27 June were agreed.

4. Matters Arising

Phil Flanagan joined the meeting at 10.21am
Paul Frew joined the meeting at 10.23 am

Members considered a letter from the Department and a copy of a letter from the British Geological Survey to the DETI Permanent Secretary regarding the Geographical Survey NI.

Agreed: Chair will write to the Minister clarifying that the Member's comments were personal and do not reflect the collective view of the Committee.

Members considered a letter from the Department reading the UK Intellectual Property Bill, Legislative Consent Motion

Agreed: Members are content to support the proposal

Members noted a response from the Department regarding the CHX Petroleum Licence.

Members considered a response from the Department regarding research and development in SMEs.

Agreed: To receive further information on the delay on drawing down money for this programme.

Members considered a response from the Department regarding Committee queries in relation to Tamboran.

Agreed: Members are content to support the proposal

Members considered a response from the Agri-Food Strategy Board and a letter for the Department on the Board's strategic plan.

Agreed: To receive clarification on the sources of funding for this programme.

Agreed: To receive clarification on what is meant by 'as soon as possible'.

Members noted details of the specific procurement problem which led to the withdrawal from the EU Competitiveness Programme.

Members considered a response from the Department regarding the details of the specific procurement problem which led to the withdrawal from the EU Competiveness Programme.

Agreed: To receive more specific clarification on the procurement issues with this programme.

Members noted a response from the Department regarding clarification on how the £1000 grant works in neighbourhood renewal areas for those receiving benefits.

Members considered a response from the Department regarding figures on the local film and television industry

Agreed: To receive further details on the projects – specifically to be identified by name in the interests of publicising and supporting their work.

5. Electricity Pricing - Oral Briefing from Airtricity and SSE

Representatives joined the meeting at 10.32am

Members received an oral briefing from David Manning, Director of Corporate Affairs, Fiona Hannon, Supply Regulation Manager and Andrew Greer, Commercial Sales Manager.

Key issues discussed included: pricing policy, flexibility for customers in getting information and sources of energy generation and supply.

Sue Ramsey left the meeting at 10.52 am

Agreed: SSE to clarify the profit figures and margins for the period 2011/12

Agreed: SSE to provide the profit figures for the period 2012/13

Stephen Moutray left at 11.06 am
Steven Agnew declared an interest as an Airtricity customer.

Agreed: SSE to provide information on how much money Airtricity lost during the period when the price was reduced.

Agreed: SSE to provide information on how many customers switched to SSE in the period between Power NI's price increase in July 2013 and Airtricity's subsequent price increase the following week.

Agreed: SSE to provide details of a review which is currently underway and is expected to be available at the end of Summer.

Agreed: To raise the DS3 programme with SONI and get further information on this.

Sandra Overend joined the meeting 11.21 am
Stephen Moutray returned at 11.32 am

Representatives left the meeting at 11.46am

6. Response to the Committee Inquiry into Innovation and Research and Development and the draft Innovation Strategy - Oral Briefing from DETI

Representatives joined the meeting at 11.46am

Gordon Dunne left at 11.46 am

Members received an oral briefing from Shane Murphy, Head of Economic Policy Division, DETI and Ciaran McGarrity, Head of Innovation Policy Unit, DETI.

Key issues discussed included: plans for the forthcoming consultation in October, the strategic direction or the next decade, the importance of recognising where the market in going and development of skills.

Sue Ramsey returned at 11.58 am

Agreed: To receive details of the implementation plan for the innovation strategy when it is available.

Gordon Dunne returned at 12.02 pm
Steven Agnew left at 12.05pm
Stephen Moutray left at 12.06 pm

Agreed: To receive further details on specific actions happening now and those taken forward in the next corporate planning period.

Agreed: To receive more detail on the workings of the strategy, specifically key performance indicators, the departments responsible for taking each forward, associated timelines and outcomes.

Agreed: To ask the Department to notify the Committee about forthcoming Innovation conferences and events.

Phil Flanagan left 12.39 pm

Representatives left the meeting at 12.40 pm

7. Subordinate Legislation SR: 2013/173 The Gas and Electricity (Internal Markets) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013

Members considered The Statutory Rule and an explanatory memorandum which is subject to negative resolution.

Agreed: That the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has considered SR 2013/173 The Gas and Electricity (Internal Markets) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 and has no objection to the rule.

8. Response to the Offshore Renewable Energy Bill consultation Written Briefing from DETI

Members considered Update on the Offshore Renewable Energy Bill Policy Consultation.

Agreed: Members were content to ask the Department to provide details of responses to concerns raised by consultees and any changes to the policy proposals arising from the consultation.

9. Invest NI Operating Plan 2013-14 Written Briefing from DETI

Members considered the Invest NI Operating Plan 2013-2014

Agreed: Members were content to note.

10. Consultation Paper - Amendments To The Gas (Applications For Licences And Extensions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996

Members considered the Proposed Amendments To The Gas (Applications For Licences And Extensions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996 And Published Criteria

Agreed: Members were content to receive a summary of consultation responses at SL1 stage in September.

11. Correspondence

Members noted the following items of correspondence for action

i. From the Minister regarding NISP Connect Knowledge Economy Index.

Agreed: Members are content for the Department to proceed as proposed.

Phil Flanagan returned at 12.44 pm

ii. From the Minister regarding the transfer of registrar function for Credit Unions and Industrial and Provident Societies.

Agreed: Members are content for the Department to proceed as proposed.

iii. From The Fermanagh Trust to the Deputy Chair regarding wind energy development.

Agreed: Members are content to forward to the Sustainable Energy Inter-departmental Working Group (SEIDWG) for comment and to the Committee for the Environment for Information.

iv. From a member of the public regarding the Committee's review of electricity policy.

Agreed: Members are content to advise the person that the Committee is not in a position to become involved in individual cases and to suggest that they contact their local MLAs. The Committee will also advise the person that this review is on-going and to provide information on attending meetings or following online.

v. From Culture Tech inviting the Committee to attend a digital media event in Derry-Londonderry on September 12.

Agreed: Committee Office to confirm attendance at the event.

vi. From the Minister regarding the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Scheme. The correspondence details the work to date and the forthcoming consultation.

Agreed: Members are content to receive an oral briefing on Phase 2 of the Renewable Heat Incentive in the autumn once the consultation has been completed.

vii. From Chairperson's Liaison Group regarding The Role of the Oireachtas in Brussels.

Agreed: Members are content to await the report on the proposed strategy for the Assembly dealing with EU issues.

viii. From the Committee for Finance & Personnel inviting responses from relevant statutory committees on the Public Service Pensions Bill.

Agreed: Members are content to advise the relevant committees that this is the case.

ix. From the Committee for Finance & Personnel regarding analysis of financial forecasting performance of departments.

Agreed: Members are content to note that DETI's financial forecasting performance has shown significant improvement from 2012 to 2013.

Members noted the following items of correspondence

x. From the Committee for Social Development to the Department inviting a response to the consultation on the Licencing of Pavement Cafes Bill.

xi. From Petrol Retailers Association regarding NI supermarket fuel pricing policy.

xii. From the Department on further Consultation on the Provision of Basic and Superfast Broadband Services across Northern Ireland.

xiii. From the Committee for Education on the Renewable Heat Incentive.

xiv. From the Committee for the Environment on Wind Energy.

12. Forward Work Programme – closed session

Members discussed items for consideration in the next Forward Work Programme.

Agreed: Committee to attend the event on Thursday 12 September.

Agreed: Committee Office to schedule briefings for the Electricity Policy Review in September.

13. Any other business

None

14. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will take place on 5 September at 10.00 am in Room 30 Parliament Buildings.

The Chair adjourned the meeting at 1.08pm

Mr Patsy McGlone
Chair
Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
4 July 2013

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