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Snippet Contents:

We have some minor queries, which the Minister might address. Will the Minister, in his reply, give us some insight into the role and remit of the CRU after water charges have been suspended?
What is the Minister's perspective regarding the market provisions regarding the North-South interconnector? Where does the North-South interconnector project stand? Will the integrated single energy market be completed by the end of 2017? We welcome the Part 5 changes regarding the restatement in primary legislation of remit penalties. The harmonisation of penalties on a par with neighbouring jurisdictions is desirable.
Although it is not within the remit of the Bill, it would be remiss of me, given the vagaries of the House and the normal course of action whereby we take some indulgence on Second Stage speeches, not to mention Whitegate oil refinery in my constituency, which employs approximately 155 workers. The obligation to operate the refinery ends in July and we are all very conscious of the potential of the site to ensure security of supply. We are very conscious of the need for decarbonisation and the associated targets. Our obligations under transport for delivering non-carbon additives, for example, could be realised within a site such as Whitegate if the State can maintain a relationship with potential buyers. I ask the Minister to keep the lines of communication open and see if there are possibilities to partner strategically with any potential buyer of the site in the future to ensure we meet our biofuels obligations. This is just one element. We must also be mindful of the need to maintain a strategic site on this island for the provision of carbon-based fuel, which will be a feature of our economy and society for many years to come.
I thank the Chairman for the opportunity to speak on the Bill, which we will support. There may be an opportunity for us in the House with the new Minister to demystify the energy market and try to distil the language we use when we discuss energy production into language that is easily understandable by consumers. Consumers, myself included given that I am new to this remit, see the public service obligation, PSO, on their bills. We refer to the market mechanism, market clearing mechanism, system marginal price, REFIT schemes and PSOs. We could work on a cross-party basis in the House to distil the language down, particularly regarding issues where there are sensitivities regarding, for example, the provision of pylons, wind energy and, now, solar energy, which is gaining more prevalence in our landscape. If we can distil the language of energy production, we can assist consumers and people living in communities to understand better the dynamics of the market as it relates to them as consumers. There is a job of work to be done and a challenge. We welcome the Bill and will support it.