Committee Agrees to Undertake Review into Electricity Prices

Synopsis: Following its meeting today, the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment announced that it will undertake a review of electricity policies in Northern Ireland.

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 20 June 2013

Reference: ETI 10/12/13

Following its meeting today, the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment announced that it will undertake a review of electricity policies in Northern Ireland.

The Committee's review announcement follows recent Power NI and Airtricity decisions to increase electricity prices by nearly 18%.

Speaking after the meeting, Committee Chairperson Patsy McGlone MLA said: "Following the electricity price increase announcements last month by Power NI and Airtricity, the Committee invited various key stakeholders in the electricity industry to give evidence to the Committee on this issue including Power NI, the Utility Regulator and Manufacturing NI. Since then, the Committee has decided that it is appropriate to look at the existing electricity pricing policy for business and domestic consumers and issues relating to security of supply."

"There are three key areas which the Committee will explore. Firstly, pricing policy for domestic and small business consumers will be examined. Exposing consumers to huge price hikes is not acceptable at any time, let alone in the current climate of austerity. Secondly, we must look at pricing policy for large industrial and commercial consumers who pay more for their electricity than their counterparts in the South, despite that fact that we are operating in a Single Electricity Market. The third issue which the Committee will consider is the important issue of security of supply. Developments relating to EU legislation and interconnection will impact in coming years on our ability to provide the electricity needed during times of peak demand. The key issues must be identified and everything possible must be done now, at this early stage, to future-proof our electricity infrastructure.

Mr McGlone concluded: "After examining these three key areas, the Committee will produce recommendations to improve consumer confidence in our electricity policies and industry."

ENDS

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