Energy
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20th November 2006

ELECTRICITY CONSUMERS MUST BE PROTECTED

Joanne Gamble, Head of Energy at the Consumer Council said: "Regardless of who owns Viridian, consumers must be protected. In practice that protection can be achieved by making sure that Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) is ‘ring fenced’ in regulatory terms. There must be a limit on the amount of borrowed money used to buy the company and the new owners must press ahead with recent commitments made to invest in the electricity infrastructure.

“It is also vital that we don't get into the situation where all the risk transfers to customers.  If the new parent company runs into financial difficulties then NIE customers should not be left to carry the can.  In addition, if the consultation process highlights any weakness in the licence or other regulatory arrangements, these need to be addressed and improved.

“Above all, the Regulator must be satisfied that this takeover deal is in the best interests of consumers.”

ENDS

  1. Consumer Council media contact: Susie Brown, telephone, 028 9067 4807 or e-mail, [email protected]
  2. The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland's consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about electricity, natural gas, coal and passenger transport.
  3. For more information, visit our website at www.consumercouncil.org.uk
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