Intel boss – energy deal vital to restoring competitiveness

29 Jul 2009

A Government decision that ensures large energy users will not face any rise in their electricity tariffs for another year has been welcomed by Intel Ireland general manager Jim O’Hara who said the deal was a vital step to bring Ireland’s cost structure under control.

The news comes on foot of a Government decision to continue an ESB rebate scheme for large energy users over the next two years.

For years manufacturers like Intel have been warning that Ireland had taken its eye off the ball in terms of cost competitiveness.

Energy costs in particular have been a concern to manufacturers like Intel which employs 4,500 people in Ireland and is working hard to stay battle-fit to win new investment opportunities that will arise.

“I strongly welcome this news and the ongoing initiatives underway to bring Irish energy prices back into line with our international competitors.

“I have long said that if we can get our overall cost structure in Ireland back under control, stay benchmarked with our industrial competitors worldwide, that with the advantages and incentives that Ireland offers as an investment destination, then there is no reason why we can’t compete for new and repeat investment,” he said.

Yesterday business lobby group IBEC also welcomed the news. IBEC Director Brendan McGinty said: “This decision will lead to significant savings for companies. It recognises the importance keeping business costs down and supporting jobs.

“Business consumes 62.5pc of electricity in the Irish retail market and large energy users are our main employers. However, industrial electricity prices are among the highest in the EU.

“While international fuel costs are outside our control, much can be done by government and the regulator to bring Irish prices back into line with the EU average. There is a need to promote energy efficiency, support competition in the energy market and address the energy infrastructure deficit,” McGinty said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years