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Written Answers. - Natural Gas Grid.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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 277. Mr. Ferris Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris  asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Information on Dermot Ahern Zoom on Dermot Ahern  the way in which the interests of domestic consumers and the overall national interest regarding the control and supply of gas will be protected in view of the increasing deregulation of the sector. [24588/02]

Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. D. Ahern): Information on Dermot Ahern Zoom on Dermot Ahern It is the responsibility of the independent Commission for Energy Regulation to regulate the gas sector. The commission is required to carry out its functions in a manner, which it considers protects the interests of final customers. The commission also has a duty to secure the continuity, security and quality of supplies of natural gas.

On Monday, 25 November 2002, the EU Council of Ministers reached political agreement on the draft revised directive on the internal market in energy, the aim of which is to achieve full liberalisation of the electricity and gas markets. The draft directive, which is expected to receive the approval of the European Parliament early in the new year, contains specific proposals aimed at ensuring a high level of protection for domestic consumers in all member states.

When adopted, the directive will lead to increased competition, thereby ensuring greater choice for consumers. On a national level, the measures proposed in the draft directive will strengthen Ireland's link with the European gas network and ensure that gas undertakings operating in Ireland can gain access on regulated terms and tariffs to a wider range of markets and sources of supply.

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