Belfast Telegraph

New managing director at helm of electricity operator SONI

Jo Aston
Jo Aston

By Staff Reporter

Electricity operator SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) has appointed a new managing director.

Jo Aston has been recruited from the Utility Regulator, where she served as director of wholesale energy regulation for more than five years.

In her previous role Ms Aston was responsible for the regulation of the Single Electricity Market (SEM) on the island, in partnership with the electricity regulator in the Republic.

Last year she led a fundamental redesign of the SEM, involving the introduction of new arrangements to increase both competition and downward pressure on prices.

She's expected to oversee the implementation of the North-South Interconnector in her new role.

The £200m infrastructure project, which will link Northern Ireland's electricity network with the Republic, suffered a major setback in February when planning approval was quashed at the High Court in Belfast.

The Department for Infrastructure is considering whether new powers granted to civil servants by Westminster could advance the project.

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Mark Foley, chief executive of the EirGrid Group, which has owned SONI since 2009, said: "It is a genuinely exciting time for Jo to lead SONI. She has the skills to carry out this role to a very high standard, at an important time, and we are pleased to have her expertise.

"Jo understands the critical role that SONI plays in developing, operating and managing the Northern Irish power system.

"I am confident she will ensure that SONI continues to deliver benefits to businesses and consumers in Northern Ireland."

Belfast Telegraph