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North West Economy Held Back by Energy Infrastructure

Is the North West economy being held back by its energy infrastructure? That’s the question that the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce is putting to their membership and businesses in the North West when they facilitate an energy conference entitled ‘Powering Business in the North West’. 

Taking place on Tuesday, 23rd February 2016 at the City Hotel, Derry/Londonderry it is kindly sponsored by System Operator for Northern Ireland (SONI). The event is intended to highlight the myriad of issues around energy, none less so than the lack of reliable electircity supply and the impact it has on the economy in the North West.

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 2015. We take it for granted that when we turn the switich 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 “the 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 security of supply? Currently there is not and and the much needed North South Interconnector is the only way forward and answer to this question.”

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, “Although some of the facts around energy are startling there’s currently a direct cost to Northern Ireland consumer that runs in circa £8 million, my question is how does this affect our businesses and thus our economy in the North West?

“When you look at a map of all the power supply in the North West it is fairly clear compared to that of Belfast where there is much more energy resource and as  a result  security of supply. This needs to be remedied as a matter of urgency. Growth of business in the North West must not be held back due to a lack of energy infrastructure.”

The event will be chaired by Brian McGrath, Chief Executive of Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners, who has already been on record stating that future growth will be reliant not only on modern infrastrucuture such as roads, but also having an electricity network to allow for industrial growth and development. 

“If we want Northern Ireland and the North West to thrive, secure electiricity is essential and the North South Interconector will deliver this. I urge as many businesses as possible to attend the Chamber’s energy conference and understand why they need to get behind the North South Interconnector,” concluded SONI’s Robin McCormick.

For further information on the event visit www.londonderrychamber.co.uk.