Eamon Ryan,
Ireland’s Energy
Minister
 
Dublin, Ireland — (METERING.COM) — January 5, 2009 – A new Distribution System Operator (DSO) has been established in Ireland with responsibility for the operation and management of the electricity distribution system, including meter operations.

The new entity – ESB Networks Limited – will remain a part of the ESB group of companies but will be legally and functionally distinct from any other ESB operations.

Ireland’s distribution system delivers electricity to more than 2 million domestic, commercial and industrial customers. The system comprises of over 170,000 transformers and almost 150,000 km of distribution networks.

As meter operator the new company will have responsibility for the installation, maintenance and reading of all electricity meters and so will play a key role in ensuring the effective rollout of smart meters throughout the country. The DSO will also continue to assist the development of renewable electricity projects, many of which are now connecting to the distribution system directly rather than through the transmission system.

Making the announcement, energy minister Eamon Ryan said that ESB Networks Limited will manage the distribution system in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner.

“Their creation will add to confidence in the market and promote the development of greater competition,” said Ryan.

The Commission for Energy Regulation will periodically review the cost ESB Networks incurs in maintaining and operating the distribution system to ensure that only equitable levels of costs are collected through the distribution tariffs. The distribution system tariffs that are charged to electricity consumers will also continue to be reviewed annually.

A major €2.5 billion investment program is currently under way by ESB Networks to upgrade Ireland’s electricity infrastructure, with completion due in 2010.

Ireland’s national smart meter plan was launched last September with a 21,000 meter pilot for ESB customers.