Bord Gáis Energy says it will not disconnect customers during crisis
Eirgrid’s contingency plans focus on ‘mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on electricity services for everyone in Ireland’
Gas Networks Ireland says gas provides up to 70% of electricity on days when wind speeds are too low to generate power
Bord Gáis Energy managing director Catherine O’Kelly says the company will not disconnect customers during the Covid-19 crisis, while it is working with business clients to help them manage the situation.
Businesses face potential cash flow squeezes as restrictions aimed at containing the pandemic slow trade across the Republic.
Ms O’Kelly confirmed at the weekend that the electricity and natural gas supplier has been in contact with business customers, and set up specific teams to deal with those worried about their ability to pay their bills right now.
“We have also suspended our regular collections process, and no customer will receive a collections letter during this period,” she said.
Bord Gáis has organised payment plans for businesses concerned about their ability to pay to help them better manage their bills. “We will not disconnect customers for non-payment at this time,” Ms O’Kelly said.
She added that the company continued to evolve its response as the situation changed.
The Bord Gáis company operates a power plant at Whitegate in Co Cork, which Ms O’Kelly said was fully resourced. “Power supply to the grid and ultimately to our customers’ homes and businesses is a critical priority for our teams, and we are confident in the resilience of our operations to enable a secure supply of energy.”
Energy supply is an essential activity. Mark Foley, chief executive of national electricity grid operator Eirgrid, confirmed the State company was taking extra precautions to protect workers against Covid-19 in line with HSE guidelines.
“Eirgrid remains focused on delivering a safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity. Our contingency plans are focused on mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on electricity services for everyone in Ireland. ”
Renewable power, mainly wind, has generated up to 50 per cent of the electricity supplied in the Republic recently. Natural gas, much of which comes from the Corrib Field off the Co Mayo coast, provided 40 per cent.
According to Gas Networks Ireland, the State company responsible for pipelines that deliver gas to homes and businesses, the fuel provided up to 70 per cent of electricity on days when wind speeds were too low to generate power. “Gas continues to be the backbone of Ireland’s power generation,” the company said.
The company noted that supplies remained high in the UK, where wholesale prices continued to fall.
Bord Gáis Energy has adjusted its operations to comply with Government restrictions and protect staff from Covid-19. Amongst other steps it is not longer carrying out routine servicing and checks on boilers and other equipment. However, the company continues to carry out necessary repairs and essential servicing.
It is understood that the company has also redeployed 50 call centre agents to support the national emergency helpline.