Commission for Regulation of Utilities

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Commission for Regulation of Utilities
State Agency of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment overview
Formed 1999 (1999)
Jurisdiction Ireland
Headquarters The Grain House, The Exchange, Belgard Square North, Tallaght, Dublin 24, D24 PXW0
State Agency of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment executives
  • Paul McGowan (Chairperson), Commissioner
  • Garrett Blaney, Commissioner
  • Aoife MacEvilly, Commissioner
Key documents
  • Electricity Regulation Act, 1999
  • Gas (Interim Regulation) Act, 2002
Website www.cru.ie

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), formerly known as the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER, Irish: An Coimisiún um Rialáil Fuinnimh) is Republic of Ireland's energy and water economic utility regulator.

Electricity regulation[edit]

The CRU licenses and monitors electricity generators.

On the transmission network, generally the high voltage lines deliver electricity from Ireland's generation sources to the transformer stations, where the electricity voltage is reduced and taken onwards through the distribution system to individual customers' premises. There are also about 18 very large commercial customers directly connected to the transmission system.

EirGrid is the independent state-owned body licensed by the CRU to act as transmission system operator (TSO) and is responsible for the operation, development and maintenance of the system. The TSO also offers terms and levies charges to market participants for the connection to and use of the transmission system, which are regulated by the CRU. ESB Networks is licensed by the CRU as the owner of the transmission system and is responsible for carrying out the maintenance and construction of the system.

The CRU sets the allowed revenue/tariffs for the transmission business and approves the connection policy for generators and suppliers connecting to and/or using the network.

The Distribution Network is the medium and low voltage electricity network used to deliver electricity to connection points such as houses, offices, shops, and street lights. The Distribution Network includes all overhead electricity lines, poles and underground cables used to bring power to Ireland’s customers.

ESB Networks (a ring fenced subsidiary within the ESB Group) is the Distribution System Operator licensed by the CRU, responsible for the building, maintaining and operating the distribution network infrastructure. The Distribution Network is owned by ESB, the licensed Distribution Asset Owner.

The CER sets the allowed revenue/tariffs for the distribution business and approves the connection policy for generators and suppliers connecting to and/or using the network.

Supply[edit]

The CRU licenses and monitors electricity suppliers.

The CRU has overseen the gradual liberalisation of the electricity supply market which culminated in full market opening in February 2005. The regulatory framework created the right environment for competition to develop and since then competition has increased in the business and domestic markets. As a result, in 2010 the CRU published its Roadmap to Deregulation, which set out the milestones for the end of price regulation. All business markets were deregulated from 1 October 2010. Since April 2011 the domestic market has been deregulated, so all electricity suppliers may set their own tariffs without price regulation from the CRU.

Single Electricity Market[edit]

Since 1 November 2007 the Commission for Regulation of Utilities, (known then as the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER)) and Utility Regulator, together referred to as the Regulatory Authorities or RAs, have jointly regulated the all-Island wholesale electricity market known as the Single Electricity Market (SEM). The SEM covers both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The decision-making body which governs the market is the SEM Committee, consisting of the CRU, the Utility Regulator as well as an independent member (who also has a deputy), with each entity having one vote.

The detailed rules of the SEM are set out in the Trading and Settlement Code, which is overseen by the SEM Committee.

At a high level, the SEM includes a centralised gross pool (or spot) market which, given its mandatory nature for key generators and suppliers, is fully liquid. In this pool electricity is bought and sold through a market clearing mechanism, whereby generators bid in the Short Run Marginal Cost (SRMC) and receive the System Marginal Price (SMP) for each trading period for their scheduled market quantities. Generators also receive separate payments for the provision of available generation capacity through a capacity payment mechanism, and constraint payments for differences between the market schedule and the system dispatch. Suppliers purchasing energy from the pool pay the SMP for each trading period along with capacity costs and system charges.

For further information on SEM please see www.semcommittee.com.

Natural gas[edit]

There are two types of gas pipelines operating around the country. The larger pipes which transport gas long distances are known as transmission pipes and the smaller pipes which bring gas from the transmission pipes to individual premises are known as distribution pipes. Ervia, formerly Bord Gáis Éireann (BGE), owns the transmission and distribution systems in the Republic of Ireland.[1]

Bord Gáis Networks (BGN) is the designated subsidiary within Ervia which constructs and extends the natural gas network in Ireland to the required safety standards. Gaslink is currently the TSO and DSO for gas.

The CRU sets the allowed revenue/tariffs and connection policy for the gas transmission and distribution network (similar to electricity).

The CRU licenses and monitors gas suppliers. Since 1 July 2007 Ireland's retail gas market has been open to competition and all gas customers are eligible to switch their gas supplier. This represents over half a million domestic customers.

The CRU continues to regulate the revenue earned and tariffs charged by Bord Gáis Energy Supply to domestic customers, and works to resolve complaints that customers have with energy companies.

Water regulation[edit]

The CRU is the independent economic regulator for public water and wastewater services in Ireland. In the consultation process leading up to the introduction of water charges in Ireland, the CRU has proposed that Irish Water provide two products and one service, with each household receiving a maximum of one product (either "Water" or "Not for Human Consumption Water") at a time. It is proposed that the wastewater service be charged per unit product consumed.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]