Mutual Energy was once part of the former government owned Northern Ireland Electricity Supply Co, which was privatised into several separate businesses some years ago.
Mutual Energy is trading successfully and is making important contributions to the local energy systems.
In the financial year to March 2020, Mutual Energy and its subsidiaries were responsible for:
l 100% of the natural gas supplied to NI through the gas pipeline
l 15% of the NI supply of electricity through the Moyle interconnector
l Commissioning the gas pipeline "to the west" of NI.
The annual report of Mutual Energy gives financial information on the trading results for each of the main segments of the company.
The combination of the core business to facilitate the flow, or supply, of electricity and gas makes Mutual a critical part of the energy infrastructure for Northern Ireland.
Mutual Energy is now a profitable business.
Building this profitable business has been a remarkable achievement.
The starting point, over a decade ago, was a deal to buy the first investment in an electricity interconnector from Scotland to Islandmagee, close to the Ballylumford power station.
The original undersea connection had a troubled early business life.
Whilst the undersea cable had an expected usable life of 30-40 years, unhappily a major cable fault reduced the operational capacity and could only be remedied by relaying some new cabling.
The repair and then further delay in supportive investment left Mutual Energy with a period of several years trading with a deficit.
That long period of difficult financial results was faced by Mutual Energy which, for a period, was supported by annual charges on the wider Northern Ireland system.
Now, with a better record of continuous successful electricity interconnector trading plus the addition of profits earned through the transmission of natural gas, Mutual Energy makes a financial contribution to the electricity system in Northern Ireland.
In the last year, £3.8m was used as a special contribution to reducing consumer tariffs.
In the most recent trading year Mutual Energy continued its development programme and added to its ability to support the local energy systems.
The Moyle Interconnector was enabled to extend its services by qualifying to include 'fast frequency response' for electricity trading between NI and GB.
In support of the interconnector services, Mutual Energy has now agreed a three year investment programme to upgrade the Interconnector control system.
Mutual Energy is dealing with two evolving issues in the current year.
First, it must prepare to cope with significant commercial changes following the departure of the UK from the EU.
It is not yet clear whether Brexit will affect the gas transportation arrangements with Gas Networks Ireland and facilitate a seamless extension of the gas transportation arrangements with GNI(UK) in Scotland.
Also, the company notes that it is hoping to secure access for the Moyle interconnector to draw on capacity in Great Britain. The Protocol on NI - Ireland should facilitate these adjustments.
As a comment on other possible developments, Mutual Energy notes that it expects to contribute to the official review of future energy strategy for NI.
It will also be developing its own ideas on the need to decarbonise the gas network although the company does not make any specific recommendations.
One wider implication of the successful development of Mutual Energy is that its improved investment in the use of the Moyle Interconnector should mean that the safe level of reliance on the use of renewable energy (from wind or solar) could be increased.
The greater ability to switch from renewables to conventional sources at short notice means that Northern Ireland might aim for a higher degree of reliance on renewables: much higher than the 40% specified in the now out-dated original strategy.
Mutual Energy is now one of the top 50 profit earning businesses registered in Northern Ireland.
On present trends, it could go even higher.