EirGrid needs to be called to account for its increasing misuse of electricity consumers’ monies

December 6, 2016

EirGrid is the monopoly electricity Transmission System Owner (TSO) in both the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland (SONI). It has no competition in the market and therefore has no requirement or justification for any competitive advertising or sponsorships.

If EirGrid was a private company it would be its own decision as to how it spent its resources. But it is not a private company. It is a semi-state company, funded by electricity consumers of Ireland and so has a responsibility to use its budget efficiently.

North East Pylon Pressure Campaign wishes to make the following statements:

1. The PR spending in relation to advertising, consultancy and media activities is out of control, in both the Republic and in Northern Ireland. The lavish expenditure across a range of unrelated areas highlights issues of uncontrolled spending and unaccountable behaviour. Examples of sponsorships and spending include:

a.€360,000 payout to a range of organisations in Westmeath, including €45,000 to Temporary Emergency Accommodation Midlands group (November, 2016)
b. 2-3 year sponsorships of 3 main national GAA events – U-21 championships, Aussie Rules and time-keeping competition – amounts not declared in 2015 annual accounts.
c.€98,000 declared in 2015 accounts for a range of organizations including the British Chamber of Commerce and Flintshire County Council
d. Sponsorship of local radio stations, hundreds of adverts in local and national press – amounts not revealed.
e. €600,000 in 2010 alone on advertising related to the 2010 planning application from March-June 2010
f. A host of sponsorships in Northern Ireland .

EirGrid reports to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action & the Environment (DCCAE). NEPPC calls on the Minister to intervene and investigate the misuse of what is effectively taxpayers’ monies.

2. It is particularly galling to observe this unchallenged misuse of taxpayers monies in contrast to the arguments and behaviour of EirGrid concerning the North-South Interconnector, whereby it is using the following tactics:

a. Pursuing a resident in Meath for full costs in her challenge on the validity of the North-South Interconnector (NSI) application, despite her already being very badly affected for 30 years by a 110kv line beside her house.

b. Consistently claiming that the NSI cannot be built based on prohibitive costs. It is worth noting that EirGrid has to date spent over €33M on the NSI application and estimate that €180M has been lost due to its delays in submissions.

3. NEPPC is calling on our elected representatives to do the following:

a. Demand that EirGrid releases its full PR costs for the last 6 years into the public domain and to then ensure a full debate on the matter occurs in the Dáil
b. Organise a review and debate on the concept of ‘Community Gain’ where EirGrid is making unchallenged decisions and sponsorships using taxpayers’ monies

Documents:

Community Fund List of Awardees

Eirgrid’s Sponsorships 2015

Sample of SONI sponsorships May – Nov 2016

eirgrid-needs-to-be-held-accountable-for-increased-misuse-of-electricity-consumers-monies

- Ends –
Further information:
087 680 36 66; pjboreilly@eircom.net; www.nepp.ie

Filed under: Press Releases 2016


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NEPP is the overall representative group for the people of Ireland's North East who advocate that high power electric cables should go underground.

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