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Utility Regulator crucial to protecting consumers' interests - Flanagan‏

3 May, 2012 - by Phil Flanagan

Sinn Féin Energy Spokesperson Phil Flanagan he said that the role of the Utility Regulator is crucial to protecting consumers.

The Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA was speaking after the Utility Regulator Shane Lynch appeared before the Enterprise Committee to discuss the referral of the latest Phoenix Gas price control to the Competition Commission and to provide an update on NIE's latest Price Control.

Phil Flanagan MLA said:

"There is a difference of some £240 million in the amount Phoenix Gas feel they should receive and the amount that the Utility Regulator deems they deserve between now and 2046.

"Coupled with this, the difference between NIE's planned investment and what the Utility Regulator sees as necessary to maintain the grid sits at around £500 million over the next five years.

"Within a competitive market such sums could not be passed on to consumers by a company facing stiff competition, whereas in a simple monopoly consumers would be expected to pay the full amount.

"In the absence of competition within the gas and electricity transmission and distribution market, an independent regulator plays a crucial role in protecting consumers' interests."

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