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Single Energy Market Committee delays the launch of new all-Ireland electricity market



There has been a further delay to the much anticipated launch of the Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM) which was due to go live on May 23rd next. The Single Energy Market Committee (SEMC) has released an announcement confirming that it will not now go live until October 1st 2018. The extension is needed to allow regulators, grid operators and suppliers to immerse in the new information technology systems required to run the market. The statement released by SEMC said that, following talks with those who will be participating in the market and the Transmission System Operators, it decided that the extension was necessary to allow further software testing. The I-SEM is a new wholesale electricity market arrangement for Ireland and Northern Ireland that complies with the Energy Act 2016, and also EU regulations. The new market is designed to integrate the all-island electricity market with European electricity markets, enabling the free flow of energy across borders and, ultimately, to create more competition and lead to lower power prices. The new system is meant to favour the most efficient electricity suppliers and it is envisaged that it could cut energy bills for businesses and consumers by up to €200 million a year. Although this is the second delay since the launch of this project, the decision to postpone the go-live date was welcomed by certain energy providers. It is expected that this extension will allow all parties to familiarise themselves more with the requirements of the I-SEM facilitating an effective transition to the new market. The timetable for future capacity auctions remains unchanged.