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Sinn Féin MP calls for urgent protection of all-Ireland electricity project amidst concerns Brexit could derail plans

Sinn Féin South Down MP Chris Hazzard has called for protection for the all-Ireland electricity market amidst concerns over Brexit. Picture by Hugh Russell

SINN Féin has said private energy contractors could impose "catastrophically high prices" on customers in the north amidst concerns the implementation of an all-Ireland electricity plan could be stalled due to Brexit.

Energy companies are due to bid in an open competition on December 11 to supply the north under the all-island Single Integrated Electricity Market model.

Sinn Féin South Down MP Chris Hazzard said: "The legal basis for this is entirely European Union legislation - the arbiter in any dispute is the European Court of Justice, the ECJ.

"The British government in its withdrawal bill clause 5, states there will be no role for the ECJ post Brexit.

"AES and energy conductors need confidence in the continuity and viability of the all-Ireland electricity market after Brexit."

Mr Hazzard said that if the competition is delayed, the north will "face a huge energy crisis" from next year.

"If that competition is stalled, then from May 2018 onwards the north will face a huge energy crisis.

"The fear is that existing private energy conductors will be mischievous and take advantage of ambiguity, and ignore the competition leading to catastrophically high prices for consumers in the north."

Mr Hazzard added: "If this is to be a success, then the north would need to maintain high EU standards of energy regulation and the ECJ would need to be the de jure provider of legal cover."

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