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Dermot Ahern Increases Competition in Gas Market
Mr. Dermot Ahern TD, Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, has announced that he is to further liberalise the gas market from January 1st 2003, confirming Ireland’s position as the fifth most open market in the EU.

The new opening will allow an increase in the industrial/commercial market opening from 62% to 75%, bringing the total number of industrial and commercial sites eligible from about 100 to over 250. Overall market opening will increase from 82% to 85%.

In announcing the proposed increase, the Minister stated - “I believe that the benefits of liberalisation should be extended to as many customers as possible in the shortest timeframe. This will assist our economic competitiveness. The Order that I have signed today helps to achieve this objective.”

Minister Ahern also confirmed his intention to provide for full market opening in 2005, including all domestic consumers.

“Among the opportunities resulting from Ireland’s membership of the EU are those accruing from the developments of the Internal Market in Energy. It is important for the competitiveness of Irish businesses and for Irish consumers in general that they be given the chance to take advantage of these opportunities as early as possible.”

The Gas (Interim)(Regulation) Act 2002 accelerated the opening of the gas market in Ireland by reducing the consumption threshold at which gas consumers are entitled to access the gas network and source their own gas supplies to 2,000,000 standard cubic metres per annum. The new Order reduces this threshold further to 500,000 standard cubic metres per annum.

The 2002 Act allows the Minister to further liberalise the market by way of Statutory Instrument.
Author:Neil Flynn
Posted Date:11/26/2002

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