Claims have been made in Dáil for the second time regarding energy regulation and the relationship between the Eirgrid and ESB.
Last week, Dáil’s Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen alleged that EirGrid made a €10m down payment to ESB on a €110m contract.
He claimed that the contract had not yet been legally challenged, and asked if the amount had been paid.
Talking in Del’s room Last Wednesday, Quinn asked whether a « comfortable arrangement » between national grid operator EirGrid and its power supplier would give ESB an unfair advantage over other companies.
“Could the European Security Council have orchestrated this crisis by exercising its market power knowing that it would be rewarded, as you explained?” He said.
Also in Dáil this afternoon, Labor Party’s Alan Kelly raised similar concerns with Taoiseach.
« I have a deep concern, and I don’t say this lightly, about how our energy market has been regulated over the past years, » he said.
He told Taoiseach that there were a number of issues to take care of.
“At the direction of the Utilities Regulatory Commission (CRU) in May, Ergrid made a call for emergency power of 200 megawatts — the cost of which was 110 million euros,” Kelly said.
The plan was to have emergency gas operators in place for 22 weeks. The contract was awarded to ESB, but Eirgrid spoiled the bid.
Another Tynagh Energy company threatened to go to the Supreme Court saying the Eirgrid-run purchase was anti-competitive, so the plan was abandoned.
The Labor leader also highlighted that the issue was raised by a member of the Taoiseach task force, Barry Cowen, last week.
Kelly repeated the questions Quinn asked at Dell on that occasion.
“How did Airgrid pay €10 million to ESB as a down payment for these emergency generators? How did this happen? Was it approved by the Minister? [Eamon Ryan] And where is the money now? » Asked.
the magazine Environment, Climate and Communications Minister Eamon Ryan was asked to comment on the matter at a news conference at government buildings last Thursday, but he declined.
Today, Kelly asked Taoiseach to confirm when the €10m will be paid and asked if the money had been refunded.
Michel Martin said there is governance surrounding the country’s energy supply, for which both Eirgrid and the CRU are responsible.
« The government no longer really has the legal powers to directly intervene and do as it pleases with regard to energy markets, » he said.
Taoiseach also said that a short to medium term risk to the security and supply of electricity for this winter has been identified if action is not taken.
He added that the department was working closely with the CRU and Eirgrid « to take the necessary measures ».
He confirmed that the need for additional temporary power generation had also been identified, adding that both Eirgrid and CRU were « acting on that basis in terms of procuring additional supplies ».
Martin said he would provide any information requested to Kelly regarding the concerns raised, but said he would « not jump to conclusions » regarding the matter.
Kelly responded to Taoiseach that a lot of energy companies are pulling out of the country.
“Regulations are not working – they are creating a huge crisis and that is what we are heading towards. Only working families will pay for all this, because their bills will rise due to the laissez-faire attitude,” the Labor leader said.
However, Kelly welcomed Taoiseach’s commitment to hand over any information to the €10m sum « approved by Eamonn Ryan’s department ».
On Friday afternoon, the European Space Agency moved to reassure its staff in the wake of allegations in the Dell newspaper last week that the quasi-state may have « orchestrated » the current energy crisis for its own benefit, Cowen claimed.
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In an email to employees this week, the company reiterated its statement that ESB « totally rejects » Quinn’s assertions.
last week , magazine I contacted the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Communications to obtain a statement on the issues raised in Dáil and a lengthy statement was confirmed providing context and explanation on the issues raised including the payment of 10 million euros soon.
However, the statement received said that if Quinn had any additional information on any of the points raised, the administration would be pleased to report this to Secretary Ryan.
“It is the Utilities Regulatory Commission (CRU) that has the legal responsibility to monitor and take necessary measures to ensure the security of the electricity supply in Ireland.
The ministry’s statement concluded that « the CRU is an independent statutory body and is answerable only to a committee of the Oireachtas ».
the magazine Contact ESB and Eirgrid for comment.