A Couple of Brexit Snippets
A few further Brexit-related details emerge
Whilst most official Brexit-related activity has been quiet for a while now – perhaps everybody is watching the spectacle of the Conservative Party leadership contest – a few things have been published in the last 24 hours:
- The Irish Government published its updated Brexit Contingency Action Plan. Section 25 of the document deals with energy. Not much is too new, but we did notice:
- A statement about interconnectors stopping flowing entirely, a thought that has never really been seriously entertained in public (to our knowledge): “emergency plans are in place to minimise supply disruption in Ireland in the event that the gas and electricity interconnectors cease flowing, although such a scenario is not anticipated”;
- The linking of the proposed Celtic Interconnector – lest we didn’t realise already – to Brexit, and the beginning of the heavy sell on that basis;
- As noted in a previous blog post the Omnibus Act seems to have been phrased heavily around altering licences in order to possibly relieve licence holders of their obligations to implement SEM, and instead prioritise any EU law obligations. The revised contingency plan has the following to say:
“Cognisant of Ireland’s ongoing obligationsas an EU Member State, discussions on the technical, operational and legal aspects of the SEM are ongoing between DCCAE and the Northern Ireland and the UK authorities, and between the relevant regulators and system operators.”
…it is unclear what this really means.
- Secondly the Utility Regulator last night published its Call for Evidence relating to the governance of SONI. The Utility Regulator is pondering whether to require that SONI has an independent board, more independent directors, proper arm’s-length cost allocation, charging and SLAs with EirGrid, and so on.
There are signs of tension:
“while within a single system there may be limited scope to benefit any one set of stakeholders at the expense of any other, any more than is the case through general government policy, in the case of Eirgrid’s acquisition of SONI the state represents only some of the stakeholders that can be affected by TSO decisions and actions. In such circumstances, it would be understandable if group policies and the design of practices were influenced by the priorities in the one jurisdiction more than the priorities in the other.”
“In particular, as the energy transition gathers momentum, Eirgrid ownership of SONI, and in turn ownership of Eirgrid by the Irish government, could arguably have the potential to frustrate government policy in NI in the absence of robust independence arrangements.”
…clearly something to watch.