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The Utility Regulator for Northern Ireland issued a consultation on a draft determination for the GD23 price control, setting out proposals on the financing of, and outputs for, the three gas distribution network operators (GDNs) in Northern Ireland for the six-year period from 2023 to 2028.
The three GDNs – Firmus Energy, Phoenix Natural Gas Limited and SGN Natural Gas distribute gas to consumers in defined areas under licences granted by the Utility Regulator. Each GDN is subject to economic regulation under the conditions of their respective licences.
In this price control, the Regulator sets values and parameters which will be used to calculate future gas distribution tariffs during the GD23 price control period. These values and parameters take account of the future development the network, capital and operating expenditure, rate of return on capital and other financial issues.
In our response, we stressed the importance of the impact of these proposals on consumers, particularly the expected impact on distribution charges and consumer bills. We welcomed the introduction of Business plan assessments together with an assessment of actual performance against the previous price control (GD17).
We confirmed acceptance of the key principle being applied, that the gas mains should only be laid where there is a reasonable prospect that the initial outlay cost will be paid back and that the route to fully decarbonised gas in Northern Ireland is extremely uncertain.