Chamber News


Conference tackles issue of energy supply in North West

The need for the North/South electricity interconnector and the threat posed to development in the north west are two issues up for discussion at a conference in Londonderry.

Hosted by the city’s chamber of commerce, the event, ‘Powering Business in the North West’ is intended to highlight the myriad of issues around energy, none less so than the lack of secure electricity supply in Northern Ireland and the impact that has on the economy in the North West.

Taking place on Tuesday, 23rd February 2016 at the City Hotel, Derry/Londonderry it is kindly sponsored by SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland). The event

Gavin Killeen, President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, said; “Energy is a very important issue for many businesses – the harsh reality of that was clear to see in the manufacturing sector in 2015 as the likes of Michelin proposed to close their doors. We take it for granted that when we turn the switch on, it works – if there is continued pressure on the network then one day it’s not going to work and the consequences could be dire!”

The conference will hear from many expert speakers including SONI General Manager Robin McCormick who says that “…progressing the North South Interconnector project is the only way to ensure security of supply and help reduce costs.

“The new interconnector will have a direct affect on businesses in the North West and for those companies that want to directly invest in the North West. One question that investors will be asking – is there a secure electricity supply? The much needed North South Interconnector is the only way to secure supplies at a price that represents value to consumers.”

SONI is also joined by Jenny Pyper from the Utility Regulator, Kathy Graham, Interim Director of Policy from the Consumer Council and Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive, of Manufacturing NI.

President Gavin Killeen continued, “Some of the facts around energy are startling – Northern Ireland consumer’s are paying circa £8m each year, for a back-up supply of electricity because the North South Interconnector isn’t up and running; my question is how does this affect our businesses and thus our economy in the North West?