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NIE - ESB row must be urgently addressed to unlock potential of single energy market

19 November, 2004


Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, national chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has said that row between the ESB and NIE must be addressed because it will undermine the development of the single all-Ireland energy market.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"The row between ESB Independent Energy and NIE has the potential to damage the development of a single all-Ireland energy market.

"Obviously ESB are in a position to offer potential customers in the north a very good deal and are aggressively looking to expand its number of customers. The concern at NIE is that because they are tied into a pricing structure that depends on the generation contracts negotiated by previous direct rule administrations that they are unable to compete on price.

"However, it is vital that progress towards the establishment of a single all-Ireland energy market is managed effectively.

"While Sinn Fein are no fan of the free market philosophy it is clear that the private monopoly created by the British governments' ham fisted privatisation of electricity is not providing the stable low-cost energy supply required to help tackle fuel poverty or to sustain and develop the economic base.

"The row between NIE and ESB has at its heart the situation created by these generation contracts. This issue needs to be dealt with. The row between the ESB and NIE must be addressed because it will undermine the development of the single all-Ireland energy market." ENDS

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