Minister called to intervene on electricity prices
Minister urged to take control as NI’s business now endure most expensive electricity in Europe
Manufacturing Northern Ireland is today calling upon the Enterprise Trade and Investment minister to immediately call a crisis summit as the Utility Regulator confirms business here endures some of the most expensive electricity in Europe.
The Utility Regulator published its latest quarterly transparency report which confirmed that customers were now experiencing electricity costs at the upper end of price in Europe with the largest consumers were now virtually on par with the market in Italy, the most expensive in this band.
Indeed, Small to Medium sized customers are at a 10% cost disadvantage to similar companies just over the border and 15% more expensive than GB. These are our most important competitive markets. If we have ambitions to grow our exporting base, meeting Invest NI and the Executives target on manufacturing exports, then having such a cost disadvantage makes that unachievable.
It is now critical that the Minister steps in and takes control on behalf of all customers. The Minister should chair a meeting with the Utility Regulator, energy companies and business representatives to look at ways to immediately address problems in NI’s energy market.
Governments in Italy, Germany and indeed the Republic of Ireland have recognised the problems caused by high energy prices in their economy and taken robust and creative action to protect their industry and economic recovery. We currently face a crisis and unless there is intervention, we face a catastrophe.
The situation for SMEs is difficult. The situation for large manufacturers competing within their own corporate structure for investment is critical. We need action, a collective approach and we need that now before we lose more manufacturers.
The Utility Regulators report can be found here: November 2014 Electricity Price Transparency Report