EirGrid, Electricity and Turf (Amendment) Act 2022 is designed to enable EirGrid to take certain emergency measures, including acquiring electricity generation plant and entering into agreements with electricity generators in relation to electricity generation plant, for the purpose of ensuring and protecting security of supply, pursuant to a direction of the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
For that purpose, the Act provides for the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications to give financial support to EirGrid to enable EirGrid to take certain measures. The Act also increases the borrowing limit of EirGrid. The Act includes an amendment of the Electricity Regulation Act, 1999 to allow for a refund of PSO monies to electricity consumers. The Act also increases the borrowing limit of Bord na Móna, through an amendment of the Turf Development Act, 1998.
Urgent measures taken pursuant to direction of Commission
EirGrid are to take urgent measures as required under a direction from the CRU to ensure security of electricity supply, including acquiring electricity generation plants; selling and transferring such plant to an electricity generator; and entering into an agreement with an electricity generator to operate the electricity generator plant. It provides for the operation of generation plant in line with the CRU direction and for operations to cease upon the earlier of the fulfilment of the direction or 31 March 2027.
EirGrid is precluded from operating generation plant acquired by it pursuant to a direction from the CRU.. It is to enter an agreement with an electricity generator to sell the emergency generation plant and undertake its operation. The electricity generator may only receive reimbursement of reasonable costs and a reasonable return as may be approved by the CRU for undertaking this activity; and that upon termination of the agreement, the electricity generator shall dispose of the electricity generation plant in an arm’s length transaction in accordance with any direction of the Commission.
EirGrid is obliged to take measures as required under a direction from the CRU to ensure security of electricity supply and ensures that EirGrid obtain no benefit other than reimbursement of reasonable costs and a reasonable return as may be approved by the CRU.
All functions performed under this act shall be in compliance with laws and treaties of Ireland and the European Union.
In all circumstances EirGrid shall be paid the full price of the electricity generating plant and any profit received on a sale of the plant by the electricity generator.
The Minister is to provide financial support to EirGrid in an agreed form and manner, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. It obliges EirGrid to use financial support for the purposes of complying with a direction of the CRU only and that the use of any income or revenue received in connection with the agreement with electricity generators shall only be used for the purpose provided or the purpose of making distributions to its shareholders as determined by the directors of EirGrid.
There is a quarterly report by EirGrid to the CRU.
Further measures for specified purpose
The CRU is to make further directions to EirGrid, the public electricity supplier or an electricity generator to address the temporary electricity emergency, and where such a direction is not complied with, to apply to the High Court to make such order as it thinks fit.
The CRU is to report upon progress to the Minister no later than 31 October 2026 and for the Minister to make an order to extend the period for which the emergency generation can be operated by one year, upon approval by both Houses of the Oireachtas.
There is provision is allow for refund of PSO to consumers. Calculation of the annual PSO levy is a matter for CRU. On the 14th June CRU issued a draft determination that gives the potential for a refund of circa €75 for the average domestic customer with passage of this enabling amendment.
The Turf Development Act allows Bord na Móna to borrow up to €650 million.