Northern Ireland electricity supply threatened by Kilroot's closure: Allister
TUV leader Jim Allister says he fears the authorities are 'too complacent' about the threat to energy supplies in Northern Ireland posed by the impending closure of Kilroot power station.
Mr Allister is to meet the Utility Regulator today to raise concerns about security of electricity supply here - and what he fears will be increasing dependence on the Republic of Ireland.
The massive Kilroot power station at Carrickfergus, owned by US energy firm AES, is scheduled to close at the end of May.
The American firm also owns Ballylumford power station, which uses natural gas for electricity generation. It too faces job losses as a result of the introduction of a new all-island electricity market.
Around 270 jobs in total could be lost at the two Northern Ireland power plants.
The decision by the US owners to close Kilroot came after the power plant failed to be selected for a large chunk of energy provision as part of the new all-island integrated single electricity market (I-SEM), which kicks in later this year.
Speaking ahead of today's meeting, the North Antrim MLA said: "The rush to copper-fasten the Integrated Single Electricity Market, before the UK leaves the EU, is placing security of supply in jeopardy and diminishing job opportunities in Northern Ireland.
"As we lose generating capacity and control, Northern Ireland may well be at the painful end of the ROI-oriented change.
"SONI (the electricity system operator of NI) being controlled by Eirgrid, itself owned by the Dublin Government, is no protection but rather gives all the appearance of dancing to the tune of its Dublin masters.
"The Utility Regulator, I fear, is far too compliant with the programme of making us wholly ROI dependent and too complacent about the threat to security of supply.
"These, therefore, will be among the issues discussed at our meeting."
The Kilroot closure news sent shockwaves through Northern Ireland's political landscape.
At Westminster, the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee said it would investigate the implications for energy provision following the closure of Kilroot. It will also consider obstacles to the construction of the North-South Interconnector, a piece of cross-border infrastructure intended to improve security of supply.