ENERGY: Urgent Action Needed for NI to avoid having the most expensive electricity in Europe
Manufacturing Northern Ireland is calling upon the Utility Regulator, Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment and the ETI Committee in Stormont to take urgent action to address electricity costs as they fear it may derail the fledgling recovery in our Economy.
Today, the NI Utility Regulator released its latest quarterly price comparison report for the first 6 months of 2013 which confirms that NI’s industrial and commercial employers are suffering from the 2nd highest electricity prices in Europe. Indeed, their latest report shows that our largest energy users, employing thousands of workers and making up our largest exporters are now perilously close to having the most expensive electricity in Europe as the gap with Italy has shrunk in the past year to almost parity.
Stephen Kelly, CEO of Manufacturing NI “it’s almost a year since the Utility Regulator began publishing comparative prices for the EU for non-domestic electricity consumers and in that time, rather than seeing our electricity prices becoming competitive, we find that we are quickly moving to be the most expensive electricity market in Europe. This is damaging economic recovery, impacting on investment and job retention and creation.” He continued “the ETI Committee in Stormont have been investigating prices since last Summer and we hope that their report and recommendations will address this unsustainable situation and send a strong signal that they do not expect the current upward trend on prices to continue. They, along with the Minister and Regulator need to take action now before we have the unenviable position as the most expensive electricity market in Europe”.
Electricity in Northern Ireland comes from a Single Electricity Market (SEM) with the Republic of Ireland, yet prices for industrial and commercial customers remains consistently higher here by some 20%. Comparisons with GB follow a similar pattern. The Utility Regulators report shows that domestic customers and small customers enjoy prices around the median for Europe.