Monday 5 January 2009

New Distribution System Operator for electricity sector

Energy Minister Eamon Ryan TD has announced the creation of a new legal entity charged with the operation and management of the electricity distribution system in Ireland.

The new entity - ESB Networks Limited - will remain a part of the ESB group of companies, but will be legally and functionally distinct from any other ESB operations.

The distribution system is the medium and low voltage electricity network used to deliver electricity to more than 2 million domestic, commercial and industrial customers via connection points such as houses, offices, shops and street lights. The system comprises of over 170,000 transformers and almost 150,000 km of distribution networks (i.e. overhead lines and underground cables).

Minister Ryan outlined the key role that the new Distribution System Operator (DSO) will play in the marketplace - “ESB Networks Limited will manage the distribution system in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner. Their creation will add to confidence in the market and promote the development of greater competition.

"The new company will have responsibility, as meter operator, for the installation, maintenance and reading of all electricity meters and so will play a key role in ensuring the effective rollout of smart meters throughout the country. The DSO will also continue to assist the development of renewable electricity projects - many of which are now connecting to the distribution system directly rather than through the transmission system.”

The Commission for Energy Regulation will periodically review the cost which ESB Networks incurs in maintaining and operating the distribution system, to ensure that only equitable levels of costs are collected through the distribution tariffs. The distribution system tariffs that are charged to electricity consumers will also continue to be reviewed annually.

The board of ESB Networks Limited will always include two independent members and is currently comprised of the following people -

* Mr John Shine, ESB Networks Executive Director (Chairman)
* Mr Bernard Byrne, ESB Group Finance Director
* Mr John Redmond, ESB Company Secretary and Head of Corporate Affairs
* Mr Luke Shinnors, ESB Human Resources Director
* Mr Des Geraghty, Chairman of the Affordable Homes Partnership - and
* Ms Gina Quin, CEO of Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

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