Commission for Energy Regulation

Commission for Energy Regulation
Commission for Energy Regulation- An Coimisiún Rialall Fuinnimh
Type State Regulatory Authority
Industry electricity Regulation, Gas Regulation
Founded Dublin, Ireland (1999)
Headquarters Dublin, Ireland
Key people Tom Reeves, Michael G. Tutty and Dermot Nolan, Commissioners
Michael G. Tutty, Chairman Chairman

The Commission for Energy Regulation-An Coimisiún Rialall Fuinnimh (CER) is the independent body responsible for overseeing the liberalisation of Ireland's energy sector(CER) regulating the electricity and natural gas sectors in the Republic of Ireland. The CER was initially established as the Commission for Electricity Regulation under the Electricity Regulation Act, 1999. The functions of the CER along with its name were changed by the Gas (Interim Regulation) Act, 2002. Under that Act, its remit was expanded to include the regulation of the natural gas sector.[1].

The CER is tasked with acting in the interests of consumers is to ensure security of electricity and gas supply, fair and reasonable charging, protection of the environment, and safety of electricity and gas supply.

CER operates a framework of national and EU energy policies which aim to create a European single electricity market that best meets the needs of Europe's energy consumers. It licences electricity and natural gas companies on a fair and equitable basis and sets performance standards which it enforces.


Electricity regulation

ESB Networks (part of the Electricity Supply Board is responsible for the operation, maintenance and development of the electricity transmission and distribution networks in Ireland. ESB Networks operates independently from other areas of the ESB Group and is required to provide services on a non- discriminatory manner to all customers, regardless of their electricity supplier. All customers are entitled to an equal level of service. ESB Networks is the point of contact when a customer wants a connection to the distribution network or if there is an emergency to report. They also have responsibility for all aspects of metering including meter reading [2].

Eirgrid is responsible for operating and planning the development of the transmission system and for accepting power generation from ESB Power and other energy operators such as for example Airtricity and Bord Gáis.

The Republic of Ireland electricity market opened fully to competition on the 19 of February 2005 in both the power generation and electricity supply areas. In 2007, the Commission deemed that the market for electricity for Large Energy Users (Industrial) was competitive enough to warrant the removal of its tariff regulation. It is the Commission's aim to encourage full competition in all parts of the market. When the residential market matures as more suppliers enter this segment of the market the current residential tariff regulation may be removed similarly.

Single Electricity Market

The All-Island Project for the Island of Ireland for Energy Regulation [3] is a joint initiative run by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) & the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation (NIAUR)] under a Single Electricity Market Operator for the Island of Ireland [4]. In August 2004 a memorandum of understanding was signed by the CER and NIAER.The memorandum of understanding established a series of principles for the development of a single wholesale electricity market (Single Electricity Market) for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

In November 2004 a development framework for the All Island Market for Electricity was agreed upon by the Irish Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (DCMNR), the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Development (DETI), the CER and the NIAER.An additional memorandum of understanding was agreed upon in June 2005 between the respective transmission system operators in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. ESB National Grid (ESBNG), now EirGrid, and SONI committed to combining their resources to work cooperatively towards the establishment of a single electricity market. The agreement between EirGrid and SONI to establish the market was formally acknowledged and approved by the CER and NIAER on the 10th of June 2005 [5].

The 2 transmission operators for ROI and NI are regulated between System Operator for Northern Ireland (S.O.N.I.) Ltd a wholly owned subsidiary of Northern Ireland Electricity and part of the Viridian Group and Eirgrid, the System Operator for the Republic of Ireland though as of 22 August 2008, EirGrid agreed to buy System Operator Northern Ireland from Viridian plc for approx £30m GBP, subject to regulatory approval.[6] This transaction was recently completed [7]

Natural Gas Networks

There are two types of gas pipelines operating around the country. The larger pipes which transport gas long distances are known as transmission pipes and the smaller pipes which bring gas from the transmission pipes to individual premises are known as distribution pipes. Bord Gáis Éireann (BGE) owns the transmission and distribution systems in the Republic of Ireland [8]

Bord Gáis Networks (BGN) is the designated subsidiary within Bord Gáis Éireann which constructs and extends the natural gas network in Ireland to the highest safety standards. BGN connects all customers to the network regardless of which natural gas supply company the customer chooses and collects meter readings for customers. Gaslink is envisaged to take over Bord Gáis Networks Gas Transmission Operator functions similar to Eirgrid in the next 3 to 5 years.

Since 1 July 2007 the Republic of Ireland's retail gas market has been open to competition and all gas customers are now eligible to switch their gas supplier. This represents over half a million domestic customers. Increased competition in the natural gas market can potentially offer a number of important benefits to consumers, including increased choice, greater efficiency, lower prices and higher standards of service.

While competition has developed successfully in the business end of the market, the development of competition is still in the very early stages in the domestic market. Because of this the Commission continues to regulate the revenue earned and tariffs charged by Bord Gáis Energy Supply.

All Island Gas Project

The Commission and the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation (NIAUR) are currently working together to establish common arrangements for gas similar to the arrangements which have already been put in place in the electricity market. This project is in very early stages at this time. For more see [9].

See also


The 2 transmission operators on the Island of Ireland existed, for ROI and NI were regulated between System Operator for Northern Ireland (S.O.N.I.) Ltd a formerly wholly owned subsidiary of Northern Ireland Electricity, formerly part of the Viridian Group and Eirgrid, the System Operator for the Republic of Ireland. Acquisition of SONI and NIE transaction recently completed by Eirgrid, brings back into public ownership a transmission system for the whole island of Ireland entrusted to make plans and integrate investment and management of the systems into one effective network for the benefit of all. SONI will operate as part of Eirgrid in its current responsibilities.[10]

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