Maintaining SEM a Brexit priority

SONI general manager Robin McCormick, left, pictured with Kirsty McManus, Northern Ireland Chamber and Norbrook CEO Liam Nagle
SONI general manager Robin McCormick, left, pictured with Kirsty McManus, Northern Ireland Chamber and Norbrook CEO Liam Nagle
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Protecting the all-island electricity market and securing the introduction of the integrated-single electricity market must be a priority despite the implications of Brexit, the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry has claimed.

A decade after the introduction of the single electricity market (SEM), a meeting of the NI Chamber / SONI Energy Forum heard that the UK’s departure from the EU could not be allowed to jeopardise the future growth and success of businesses.

“Great strides have been made in many aspects of North South co-operation ranging from health, agriculture and energy,” said Kirsty McManus, head of business development at the Chamber speaking at the event at Norbrook’s Newry headquarters.

“It is important that any negotiations between the UK and EU ensure that those strong ties with the Republic of Ireland on issues of major importance to both sides of the border are not eroded.”

The business organisation, which represents over 1,200 members across the province, said the SEM had offered significant benefits to consumers, including businesses and employers and must be at the forefront of the Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy.

Introduced in 2007, the Single Electricity Market was designed to achieve more efficient electricity prices for consumers across the island.

The Integrated-Single Electricity Market will be implemented in 2018 to build on that success and create even greater levels of competition, resulting in a downward pressure on the cost of electricity for everyone.

Robin McCormick, general manager of SONI, said the whole project hinged on the long-awaited North South Interconnector.

“The interconnector is also critical to ensuring that the I-SEM will function efficiently.

“The need and rationale for both of these projects remain regardless of Brexit.

“The implementation of the I-SEM and the strengthening of the all-island market arrangements make good economic sense for everyone.”