FOI and AIE
There are two types of information requests typically received by the CRU:
1. Freedom of Information
2. Access to Information on the Environment
1. Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act 2014 establishes these statutory rights:
- A legal right for each person to access information held by public bodies;
- A legal right for each person to have official information relating to him/herself amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading;
- A legal right to obtain reasons for decisions affecting oneself.
The Act asserts the right of members of the public to obtain access to official information to the greatest extent possible consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy of individuals.
Please click the following link to view the FOI legislation – http://foi.gov.ie/
It is important to note that it may not be necessary to make an FOI request as a considerable amount of information is available through this website, as well as in response to general information queries. However should you wish to make a request for FOI or an AIE, please e-mail email@example.com
In most cases a public body must respond to an FOI request no later than 4 weeks from the receipt of the request.
2. Access to Information on the Environment
The European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 to 2014 give legal rights to those seeking access to information on the environment from public authorities.
Subject to certain exceptions, information relating to the environment held by, or for, a public authority must be made available on request to any person.
The Regulations provide a definition of environmental information and outline the manner in which requests for information may be submitted to public authorities. The Regulations also provide for a formal appeals procedure in the event that a person is unhappy with a decision on their request.
The AIE Regulations were introduced to give effect in Ireland to Directive 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on Public Access to Environmental Information (the AIE Directive). This Directive repealed Council Directive 90/313/EEC, which was the previous EU instrument providing for access to environmental information.
The AIE Directive was adopted by the EU to give effect to the Access to Information pillar of the 1998 UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the Aarhus Convention).
Overview of CRU Services
Apart from the founding legislation, the Electricity Regulation Act 1999, the functions and duties of the CRU have been altered and expanded significantly by legislation transposing EU directives into Irish law and the introduction of new primary legislation. This includes, but is not limited to, Gas (Interim Regulation) Act, 2002, the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006, Electricity Regulation (Amendment) (Single Electricity Market) Act 2007, the Petroleum (Exploration and Extraction) Safety Act 2010 and the Water Services Act 2013 as amended.
Among other matters, this array of legislation have given the CRU powers in relation to the all-island Single Electricity Market (SEM), and safety-related responsibilities in the energy sector.
In addition the CRU has been appointed as Ireland's economic regulator of the Irish public water and wastewater sector.
The CRU was initially assigned responsibility over the economic regulation of the Irish electricity sector following the enactment of the Electricity Regulation Act, 1999, and its roles and responsibilities have expanded since with new legislation. The CRU's economic electricity roles have involved the liberalisation of the electricity generation and retail (supply) markets, with competition now in both market segments, while the networks (wires) are a monopoly which are subject to economic regulation by the CRU.
Looking at the different segments of the sector, the electricity generation market is all-island in nature, with the all-island wholesale Single Electricity Market (SEM) in place across the island of Ireland since November 2007. The SEM is regulated by the SEM Committee, consisting of the CRU in Dublin, the Utility Regulator in Belfast and an independent member. Please see www.semcommittee.org for more information in relation to the SEM.
The CRU has specific functions in relation to electricity generation adequacy and security of supply for Ireland, including that appropriate measures are in place for monitoring, assessing and managing security of supply and taking any necessary actions to protect security of supply. The CRU also must have regard to the need to promote the use of renewable, sustainable or alternative forms of electricity and has duties to take account of the protection of the environment.
Turning to the electricity networks, the CRU regulates the allowed revenues/charges for monopoly electricity transmission and distribution systems - in other words the high and low voltage wires/pylons - with the aim of delivering "value for money" for the end customer. The CRU also approves network connection policy and resolves disputes that users may have with respect to connection to and use of the networks.
The CER is responsible for the economic regulation of the Irish gas network and the supply of gas to end customers in line with the Gas (Interim) (Regulation) Act, 2002, as amended.
The gas network is made up of transmission and distribution pipelines, through which natural gas is supplied to homes and business. The transmission pipes operate at high pressures and are used to move large volumes of natural gas. The gas network forms a ring extending through the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway.
The smaller distribution pipes make up distribution systems and these typically supply urban areas. Each distribution system is connected to the higher pressure transmission system at a pressure reduction station.
Gas Networks Ireland is the Transmission System Operator (TSO) and Transmission Asset Owner (TAO).
The CRU aims to make sure that the gas network in place meets the needs of the Irish gas customer at a reasonable and efficient cost. The CRU sets the tariffs for access to and use of the gas distribution system and transmission system. The tariffs for the gas distribution system are paid by end customers connected to the gas distribution system.
The transport of natural gas across the Irish natural gas network is governed by a set of market rules and codes. Shippers bring gas from ‘entry points’ (Moffat in Scotland, Inch and Bellanaboy) to customers' premises (exit points) in accordance with the rules set out in the GNI Code of Operations.
Very large users of natural gas such as power stations are usually connected directly to the transmission network. Other users (including residential users) are usually connected to natural gas via the distribution network. The charges for the cost of the gas transmission system are included in bills for all end customers.
The CRU licenses competing electricity and suppliers to serve customers’ needs and sets a range of license conditions that are designed to protect customers and promote competition.
The CRU has overseen the gradual liberalisation of the electricity supply market which culminated in full market opening in February 2005. The regulatory framework created the right environment for competition to develop and since then competition has increased in the business and domestic markets. In 2010, the CRU published its Roadmap to Deregulation, which set out the milestones for the end of price regulation. All business markets were deregulated from 1st October 2010. From April 2011, the domestic (residential) market was deregulated and so all suppliers are free to set their own tariffs.
The natural gas retail market has been open to full competition since 1st July 2007. Competition began in 2004 with three suppliers competing for the larger industrial and commercial customers. Since then through active consultation with industry participants and the development of new market processes the number of suppliers has increased with competition increasing in all sectors of the retail market. This has in part been enabled due to the ease with which customers can switch supplier. All natural gas customers are eligible to switch supplier since July 2007.
Among other energy safety responsibilities, the CRU has the statutory authority to regulate the activities of electrical contractors with respect to safety.
This led to the publication of the CRU’s Criteria Document which sets out the detailed rules of the electrical safety regulatory scheme and the obligations for participants operating within the electrical safety regulatory scheme.
Among other energy safety responsibilities, the CRU also has the statutory function to:
- Regulate the activities of gas undertakings with respect to safety. This includes gas network operators and gas suppliers;
- Regulate gas installers with respect to safety; and,
- Promote the safety of gas customers and the general public with regards to the supply, storage, transmission, distribution and use of natural gas.
The CRU is the safety regulator for upstream (offshore and onshore) petroleum exploration and extraction activities in Ireland. In order for petroleum undertakings, operators and owners to carry out a designated petroleum activity (as set out in S.I. 89 of 2013, Petroleum Safety (Designation of Certain Classes of Petroleum Activity) Regulations 2013), the petroleum undertaking must first receive a safety permit from the CRU. The Electricity Regulation Act 1999 (the Act), as amended by amongst others, the Petroleum (Exploration and Extraction) Safety Act 2010 and the Petroleum (Exploration and Extraction) Safety Act 2015, sets out the full breadth of CRU functions and industry responsibilities with respect to upstream petroleum safety.
The Water Services Act, 2013 (No 1 March 2013) expanded the remit of the CRU to include a function to prepare to become the economic regulator for the public water sector. Under this Act the CRU is permitted to advise the Minister for the Environment (the "Minster") on matters related to the economic regulation of the public water sector in Ireland. Further legislation including the Water Services Act 2014 and Water Services (Amendment) Act 2016 which suspended domestic water charges for a prescribed period have since been implemented.
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Current Tenders and Contract Award Notices - e-Tenders website
Details of the Commission’s current tenders can be found at www.eTenders.gov.ie. This is a central facility for all public sector contracting authorities to advertise procurement opportunities and award notices. The site is managed by the Office of Government Procurement. The site displays, the Commission’s procurement opportunities currently being advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), as well as other lower-value contracts notices which are uploaded to the site by the Commission. It also provides associated tender documents (where available) which can be downloaded from the site.
On completion of a published tender competition, the Commission publishes an award notice on www.eTenders.gov.ie.
Please click here to view our Procurement Policies
Please click here to view CRU Payments over €20,000
Please click here to view CRU Prompt Payments Returns
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