Written Answers - Energy Resources.

Wednesday, 5 October 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 606 No. 80

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  115.  Mr. Ring  Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring   asked the Minister for Finance  Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen   his views on the observations of the Office of Public Works in relation to the sanction of increases in gas prices. [26669/05]

  148.  Mr. Gilmore  Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore   asked the Minister for Finance  Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen   the estimated additional costs likely to arise for the Office of Public Works (details supplied) as a result of the recent rise in gas prices approved by the Commission for Energy Regulation; if the Office of Public Works has made any representations to the Commission for Energy Regulation on this matter; the response received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26626/05]

Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Mr. Parlon): Information on Tom Parlon  Zoom on Tom Parlon  I propose to take Questions Nos. 115 and 148 together.

The Government Supplies Agency, as part of its procurement responsibilities, has placed contracts for several years with Bord Gáis Éireann for the supply of natural gas to a large number of State sites.

As with all procurement, the agency seeks to achieve the most economically advantageous terms available for its end users. Prior to 2003 this involved negotiating a price for the supply of natural gas with the single supplier, Bord Gáis Éireann. Following deregulation, there was scope for competition in relation to the unit price of gas, and the GSA initiated a process of competitive pricing for the unit cost, which is still in place.

With regard to transmission costs, the Deputy will be aware that gas has to be transported from either Inch, near Kinsale, or Moffat in Scotland to each site in the country. This transmission or transportation mechanism is operated by Bord Gáis Éireann.

The Commission for Energy Regulation, on 29 July 2005, invited observations from the public and interested parties on its proposed decision [1814]regarding transmission or transportation tariffs for the 2005-06 gas year. The Government Supplies Agency, in response to that invitation, submitted its views to the commission on 25 August 2005.

The agency’s observations, which related to transmission costs only, were offered as part of an ongoing dialogue on the provision of energy supplies between the agency, acting on behalf of its customers, and the commission. The agency acknowledges and accepts that the commission will take a wider range of considerations into account when reaching its decisions. The agency did not receive any direct feedback on its letter from the commission.

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