Natural Resources Committee engages with the Commission for Energy Regulation
15 March 2012
The Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture today received a detailed briefing from representatives of the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER). As the regulator for the electricity and natural gas sectors in Ireland, the CER discussed its increased responsibilities in regulating petroleum safety onshore and offshore. Addressing the Committee were CER Chair Dermot Nolan, Commissioner Garrett Blaney and Dr Paul McGann, their Director of Safety and Consumer Affairs.
Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee Andrew Doyle TD said: “The Committee thanks the CER representatives for a detailed briefing on their increased role in petroleum safety. With today’s news of an oil strike off the Cork coast, today’s meeting heard the representatives explain that international best practice will be applied in regulating petroleum exploration, as their Petroleum Safety Framework is finalised.
As well as offshore exploration, the CER will have responsibility for ensuring the safety of a potential onshore hydraulic fracturing industry, which is a source of heightened public concern. While the CER’s role concerns safety with no statutory authority to permit or ban ‘fracking’, the issue will no doubt be a source of ongoing engagement between the Committee and the Commission in the coming years.
“The Committee are encouraged that CER intend to facilitate more renewable generation capacity, including the associated network development costs, at the least cost to the end consumer.
“Other issues raised at the meeting include CER responsibilities around consumer protection in the gas and electricity retail market, their work on regulating the key electricity interconnector between Ireland and Wales and their evaluation of a smart metering roll-out to homes and business.”