EirGrid misleading docile DCCAE on critical technical matters related to the North-South Interconnector

August 5, 2018

Media Release from North East Pylon Pressure Campaign (NEPPC)

30 July 2018


NEPPC continues to examine the significant quantity of documentation between EirGrid and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment (DCCAE) related to the North-South Interconnector (NSI), dating 6th December 2016 up to 10th May 2018.

Some of the records include direction from Eirgrid to the DCCAE on technical comparisons between underground cables and overhead lines, arguments which are central to the debate on the NSI.

NEPPC wishes to comment on record 21, which is a request from a civil servant in DCCAE for a response from EirGrid to a statement from Timmy Dooley, TD in the Oireachtas in February 2017 related to the reliability and security of underground cables. Eirgrid’s briefing to the DCCAE highlights that the underground cable would be significantly less reliable than an overhead line and would take significantly longer to repair.

Contrary to Eirgrid’s propaganda the facts are as follows:

  • The specific underground cable systems suitable for the NSI have a very high reliability and availability rate.


  • The EirGrid briefing to the DCCAE contradicts its own submission to the An Bord Pleanála Oral Hearing in 2010, where the same EirGrid project manager stated that there was no difference between overhead and underground in terms of reliability.



  • The Independent Expert Commission report in 2012, actually commissioned by the Department, does not consider reliability to be an issue for either the underground cables or associated convertor stations.


  • The Eirgrid briefing document makes great play on very long repair times to fix an underground cable fault compared to an overhead line fault. But it fails to mention the critical point – most underground systems are now double circuits –  a second backup cable is installed in parallel so that if a fault occurs on the first one there is an instant switchover to the second one, meaning that repair time is irrelevant.


The Eirgrid briefing refers to ‘international statistics’, but fails to reference a single source for the so-called statistics. There is no follow-up request from the DCCAE for any clarity on statistics or indeed any challenging of the sweeping statements made by Eirgrid. This is lazy unprofessionalism from a Department whose only objective is to get the project ‘over the line’. It is also lazy acceptance from our Government elected representatives in the North-east of all utterances from Eirgrid.

Eirgrid may easily fool the Department with its contrived statements on technical aspects. But it is not fooling the people on the ground. If the Government wants this project to succeed then the most reliable option is to underground the cables.

NEPPC has provided and presented specific facts and statistics on underground reliability and availability to the various hearings and is happy to provide details to any interested parties.

Ends –

Further information:

087 680 36 66;www.nepp.ie


North-South Interconnector: Insidious, unhealthy and unacceptable cosy relationship between Department and EirGrid exposed

Open Letter to Minister Naughten – North-South Interconnector shambles August 5, 2018

Filed under: Press Releases 2018

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