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The increase in retail electricity costs brought about by the NIRO may risk putting certain electricity intensive businesses in Northern Ireland at a significant competitive disadvantage when they are operating in international markets.
In 2016, the UK Government introduced a UK-wide compensation scheme to enable Energy Intensive Industries (EIIs) to remain competitive. In 2018, Great Britain moved to an Exemption Scheme, however Northern Ireland-based industries have remained in the Compensation Scheme, funded and administered by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). BEIS funding will conclude in March 2023.
A consultation has issued by Department for the Economy (DfE) on whether funding for EIIs in Northern Ireland should continue post March 2023 and, if so, in what format. This consultation poses a number of specific questions regarding EIIs.
In our response, we agreed that for reasons of parity EIIs should continue to receive relief with minimum disruption to current procedures. We highlighted the difficulties and effect that an exemption scheme would have on fuel poverty and expressed a preference for continuation of a compensation scheme funded by the Northern Ireland Executive.