NI politicians oppose ESB NIE takeover

21 Sep 2010

ESB’s takeover of Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) has come under fire from Northern Irish leaders in opposition of the move.

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson and outgoing UUP leader Sir Reg Empey have formally objected to the State energy company’s planned takeover in writing, labelling it inappropriate and adding that NIE is a “key component” of Northern Ireland’s national infrastructure. They claim that the deal has major political implications.

ESB had announced plans to buy NIE, which controls Northern Ireland’s electrical and distribution networks, last July from its owner, Viridian, for €1.25bn.

The completion of the NIE takeover will place ESB in control of the North’s national grid – delivering power to customers’ homes and businesses across the province – making them the main electricity distributor across the Republic and Northern Ireland.

NIE currently employs around 1,300 workers and will maintain itself as a standalone business, as a separate brand operating in the ESB group.

The takeover of NIE is expected to be completed before the end of the year.