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Every Household faces higher energy costs due to Brexit – Stanley

21 June, 2017 - by Brian Stanley TD

Commenting on the ESRI paper published today on Irish energy policy and Brexit, Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and Environment Brian Stanley said the uncertainty around what will happen to our energy market after Brexit could have profound economic consequences.

The TD for Laois said:

“I raised, at a Dáil Committee attended by Eirgrid and ESB this week, the need to protect and enhance the Single Electricity Market (SEM) in the context of Brexit negotiations. I emphasised the importance of this in terms of the future use of renewables, security of supply North and South, and in terms cost and price stability.

“We have in Irish energy, an all-island electricity structure. Coupled with this the only interconnection with another State both in gas and electricity is across the Irish sea with Britain. Any changes to the working of these structures can have enormous implications. The potential costs are broad. In their paper, the ESRI state that Britain ‘may attempt to impose tariffs on imported electricity’ if they leave the single market for electricity.

“The electricity market here demonstrates the strengths that come from all-island structures. In our pathway forward to create more renewable energy sources, this will progress and function at its best if we use the natural resources of the whole island to supply the whole island.

“The ESRI say ‘Britain’s continued full participation in the European electricity market is not guaranteed’. This is in the context of the Swiss having restrictions in regard to their participation in the EU energy markets. Considering the all-island market and our reliance on the gas interconnector, we need to analyse the effects this will have on the average citizen in terms of potential charges and higher utility bills.

“Changes to any of these elements of the Irish energy market has the potential to affect every single household on this island.  A hard Brexit has the prospect of creating higher prices for everyone. This is the worst case scenario. The ESRI state the ‘maintenance of the Single Electricity Market post-Brexit should be a top priority for policymakers’. We need to ensure the government is giving this the priority it deserves and that current infrastructures are maintained otherwise we may all pay.” 

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