U-turn on Bord Gáis sale shows folly of decision to sell Offaly power plant

Damian Moran

Reporter:

Damian Moran

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Offaly Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has said the decision not to sell Bord Gáis because bids from potential buyers undervalue the company proves the government is wrong to proceed with selling two ESB power stations in the midlands.

Offaly Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has said the decision not to sell Bord Gáis because bids from potential buyers undervalue the company proves the government is wrong to proceed with selling two ESB power stations in the midlands.

Deputy Cowen said: “When Minister Rabbitte made his announcement that Bord Gáis is not being sold because the bids received under value it he said ‘current conditions in the power and commodity markets were not favourable’. This is the same market he is planning to sell the West Offaly power station at Shannonbridge and Lough Ree power station at Lanesborough, County Longford. If the market is not capable of yielding a proper return for Bord Gáis why is the Government insisting on pressing ahead with these other sales?”

West Offaly Generating Station is a 150MW station while Lough Ree has a capacity of 100MW. Both were commissioned in 2004 and have 15 year contracts to burn peat supplied by Bord Na Mona.

Deputy Cowen commented, “Bord Gáis and the ESB are valuable state assets and their local assets such as the West Offaly and Lough Ree power plants, are yielding returns for the economy. We have been stating consistently that irrespective of the conditions in the global market place, where these assets are proven to be serving the economy and benefiting the country, they should be retained in state ownership.

“How can the Minister on one hand cite ‘unfavourable conditions’ in the marketplace as a reason for not proceeding with the sale of Bord Gáis Energy and on the other hand go ahead with selling important ESB assets in the same unfavourable conditions? This flies in the face of basic common sense.”