Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has pressed EirGrid CEO Fintan Slye on the need for a fully independent cost-benefit analysis on undergrounding.
He also accused EirGrid of engaging in a communications strategy centred on slick presentations, nuanced positions and spin.
Senator Cullinane made the comments as Mr.Slye appeared before the Oireachtas Communications Committee today.
“In recent media interviews EirGrid executives said that they have no objections to undergrounding.
“It is clear from today’s comments from the CEO of EirGrid that undergrounding is not being looked at as a serious option. This is despite the many and varied concerns expressed by communities about overhead power-lines.
“The truth is that EirGrid has been forced to retreat on its position regarding undergrounding.
“In 2007, they said undergrounding was not technically possible and that it would cost 21 times more than overhead power-lines.
“However, at today’s committee hearing the EirGrid CEO conceded that undergrounding is possible by using different technology. He also stated that it would be 3 times more expensive. He offered this assessment without having carried out a long-term cost-benefit analysis.
“Either EirGrid were wrong then or they are wrong now. Either way it has a very serious credibility problem on the issue. This problem has been largely the result of a communications strategy centred on slick presentations, nuanced positions and spin.
“The only way credibility can be established is through the carrying out of an independent cost-benefit analysis on undergrounding.”