More information needed on hike in electric costs – Flanagan
Speaking after a meeting of the Assembly's Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan said:
"The ETI Committee today met to consider a proposal by Minister Jonathan Bell to close the current incentive scheme for renewable electricity generators.
"The implications of this would have been an annual average increase in electricity prices for domestic households of between £9 and £16 and £30,000 for each of the north’s 200 largest energy users.
"DETI officials told us today they have been given an assurance by the minister these costs will not be borne by consumers here alone but would be also paid by electricity consumers in Britain, which would result in a much more favourable outcome for customers here.
"However, in a letter sent today to Minister Bell in which the British Secretary of State Amber Rudd in the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) confirmed her position that should the Assembly maintain a different policy on renewables than in Britain, then ‘the cost impact of that decision should not be funded by GB consumers”.
"While fully sympathetic to the needs of the renewables sector in terms of the need for surety for future investments, we need to be sure that decisions we take, are in the round, in the best interests of wider society.
"Any decision which adds over £17 million to electricity bills here needs to be made with all of the facts put in front of the committee.
"To date, we have not presented with those facts. The committee has asked DETI officials to get written confirmation from DECC that these costs will be borne by electricity consumers in Britain as well as here before we decide whether to approve this legislative change or not."