Threat to 270 workers’ jobs remains despite inclusion on latest all-island generating capacity statement
November 1st: In the 2018 All-island Generation Capacity Statement published last week, the System Operator for Northern Ireland (SONI) included on a list of current generators both Kilroot power station and Ballylumford B which were excluded contracts to supply earlier in the year.
The decision to exclude the generators was made by Irish-government owned SONI, which has been given responsibility to manage and operate the transmission grid across the island of Ireland, and has been widely criticised as leaving Northern Ireland’s electricity system vulnerable to shocks post-Brexit. The decision threatens to reduce Northern Ireland’s generating capacity by 36 percent and leave the region dependent on imported electricity.
Joanne McWilliams, Unite Regional Officer with responsibility for the union’s membership at Kilroot and Ballylumford said:
“Earlier this year, SONI announced the exclusion of generators in both Kilroot and Ballylumford from contracts to supply the upcoming all-Ireland Integrated Single Electricity Market (ISEM). This decision threatens with redundancy 150 AES employees and 120 direct, full-time contractors who provide services onsite and would have remove 36 percent of our generating capacity at a time when the UK government are warning of the possibility of black-outs post-Brexit.
“Unite has led the campaign against this decision which reduces our generating capacity at a time of uncertainty over our continued ability to buy-in electricity and when progress towards the north-south electricity interconnector is stalled due to the absence of a locally-accountable Executive.
“Our concerns have been echoed by local political leaders who have argued against the exclusion of Kilroot and Ballylumford B from the upcoming three-year market. Indeed, a recent paper produced by the UK government highlighted the prospect of blackouts in the context of a no-deal Brexit.
“The inclusion of these generators in the 2018 All-island Generating Capacity Statement, released by SONI last week, and which appears to offer some hope but needs to be followed up swiftly by assurance to the workers.
“Unite has written to SONI to seek a meeting for further clarification. We are seeking a firm commitment on capacity supply contracts as a means to safeguard the livelihoods of those working at both plants”, Ms McWilliams concluded.