The company which operates the electricity cable linking Northern Ireland and Scotland has said it will contribute almost £13m towards keeping prices down.
Mutual Energy Ltd said it will be able to avoid charging Northern Ireland customers directly for the costs of operating the 500 megawatt Moyle Interconnector for the eighth year running.
It is contributing £12.9m from its business reserves for the year to March 2011, following up a contribution of £11.9m last year. The contribution will keep electricity prices “significantly lower” than they would otherwise have been.
Chief executive Paddy Larkin said: “This announcement is good news for consumers because it means that the expected shortfall between our revenue and our costs in 2010/2011 will be funded by our reserves and not by increasing customer tariffs. In the current economic climate we are delighted to be in a position to provide this assistance to consumers.”
Mutual Energy said the saving was in addition to the savings on the cost of capital associated with the mutualisation of the Moyle Interconnector, estimated to be £18.6m to the end of March 2010, a saving of nearly 26% on the non-mutual case. Mr Larkin added: “Considering our revenue outlook, although the interconnector is still essential for keeping the lights on in Northern Ireland, the Single Electricity Market does not adequately reward this security of supply. Additionally wholesale prices on each side of the interconnector are expected to converge further, which means our revenue linked to this price differential is decreasing.”