Letter to Minister Bruton requesting action regarding Eirgrid and ESB alleged breaches of the Infrastructure Agreement

February 6, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

PO Box 106,

Navan,

County Meath

02 February 2019

 

Minister Richard Bruton,

Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment,

29-31 Adelaide Rd,

Saint Kevin’s,

Dublin, D02 X285

Complaint & request for action regarding Eirgrid and ESB alleged breaches of the Infrastructure Agreement, SI 445/2000 and 2009/72/EU related to the North-South Interconnector (Ref: PL02.VA0017)

 

Dear Minister Bruton,

I write to you on behalf of North East Pylon Pressure Campaign (NEPPC) group in relation to the above. NEPPC has made a formal complaint to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) concerning alleged non-compliant activities of Eirgrid and ESB regarding the North-South Interconnector (attached).

It is the contention of NEPPC that both ESBN and Eirgrid are in serious breach of the Infrastructure Agreement and we are proceeding to put the EU Commission on notice of the situation. The collusion between Eirgrid and ESBN in relation to addressing the discharge of the Conditions on this project are contrary to the spirit and direction of the EU Commission rulings on unbundling and on public consultation.

NEPPC has requested that the CRU carries out a formal investigation of the above matters in an expeditious manner, given the serious nature of the allegations. NEPPC also has also written to Monaghan, Cavan and Meath Local Authorities (attached) requesting that they cease all discussions with ESB and Eirgrid until the outcome of complaints have been decided and/or criminal proceedings actions have been reached.

But there is also a political and governance responsibility aspect to this situation. EirGrid is a 100% state-owned natural monopoly, and as such its shares are held by you, in your capacity as Minister. ESB is 95% state owned and also comes under your governance. There are some broader issues at stake here that require political action. Why is ESB acting in an unauthorized manner? Why is ESB commissioning reports at taxpayers’ expense on seeking novel approaches to circumvent the An Bord Pleanála (ABP) specific planning conditions? Why is ESB, in an unauthorized capacity, putting local authority planning officials in the very difficult position of requesting agreement to breach planning conditions? Why has Eirgrid facilitated these activities and reneged on all of its own obligations related to the ABP approval?

NEPPC is requesting that:

  • A letter be written to ESB and Eirgrid, directing that no further correspondence occurs with Local Authority planning officials pending the outcome of the CRU investigation and that  all correspondence be forwarded to NEPPC and to the local authority planning officials.
  • A meeting be held in February with ESB and Eirgrid seeking an explanation of their activities and outcome of meeting to be forwarded to the CRU and to be published.
  • A formal tabling of these issues at the next Cabinet meeting

It is important to note also, from a landowner and public consultation/participation perspective that none of these activities would be known about if NEPPC had not made a number of FOI and AIE requests. The AIE requests are being decided on by the Eirgrid project manager for the North-South Interconnector. We now have to take our request to the OCEI to try and get full answers to questions that should be in the public domain. What message does this send to the public about the integrity of the planning process?

NEPPC is seeking a response to the actions requested above, so that we can inform the affected landowners and communities.

Yours sincerely

Padraig O’Reilly, on behalf of NEPPC

cc. Minister Regina Doherty/ Minister Heather Humphreys

Filed under: News & Events


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