Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Revelation about true cost of flawed electricity privatisation demands action

13 July, 2005


Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Foyle MLA Mitchel McLaughlin has said that
the revelation from the Energy regulator Douglas McIldoon that the flawed
electricity privatisation brokered by previous direct rule ministers will
result in an additional cost of £1 billion demands a prompt response and a
plan of action from Angela Smith, the current British direct rule minister
responsible for energy.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"It has been well established that the privatisation deal, and particularly
the fixed long-term generation contracts, brokered by British direct rule
ministers in the 1990's has been a disaster. It has been bad for the
individual domestic customer and bad for the economy. It has also
contributed to the unacceptable levels of fuel poverty that mean that over
2000 people die every year from cold related illness.

"The package proposed by the previous direct rule ETI minister to alleviate
the current situation has been referred to the EU.

"However, Douglas McIldoon's revelation that by the end of the decade that
electricity privatisation will have taken an additional £1 billion out of
the local economy must be addressed.

"It is time for the British government to accept responsibility for this bad
deal and come forward with a plan that can create a level playing field for
our businesses and significantly bring down electricity prices, particularly
as part of a commitment to eradicate fuel poverty.

"I believe that it is time for us to begin the debate about a British
government intervention to buy-out the remaining life of the generation
contracts and to allow, for example, new entrants into the energy market
such as ESB to set a lower and more competitive price given the commitment
to create a single all-Ireland energy market." ENDS



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