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Extension of NIE price control must be first step in reducing energy costs

23 August, 2004


Sinn Féin national Chairperson, Foyle MLA Mitchel McLaughlin has welcomed the announcement of the extension of the NIE Supply's price control but added that we still need to see a comprehensive response from government to tackle the legacy of high electricity prices that are a result of the privatisation contracts brokered by previous British direct rule Ministers.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"The extension of the NIE price control should see real benefits to customers. Greater uptake of efficiency programmes should also deliver greater customer savings.

"However, we are still waiting to see the comprehensive response from DETI to tackle the legacy of high electricity prices that are a result of the privatisation contracts brokered by previous British direct rule Ministers. The proposed £30 million support package fell flat on its face but we have yet to here of DETI will respond.

"I also welcome the roll out of household scale renewable and domestic combined heat and power installations, which can make an important contribution to paving the way for more sustainable energy solutions. The launch of 'Solar21', that encourages councils to install a Solar Photovoltaic system, is another example of the many types of projects that the price control agreement can deliver and also sends out a clear signal about their commitment to sustainable sources of energy.

"We now need to chart a course to deliver and sustain a relatively cheap form of energy for those in our society most in need, the elderly, the sick and those on benefits. The extension of the 'keypad' scheme with its 2.5% price reduction needs to be effectively targeted to ensure that those most in need benefit.

"Sinn Féin have argued for the creation of a single energy market on the island of Ireland and it is vital that as the all Ireland energy market emerges that both sustainable energy sources and support for those most in need and value for money are fundamental principles to be built upon." ENDS

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