Annual Report 2015

Connecting Jobs and Prosperity

Who We Are

EirGrid Group is responsible for a safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity: now, and in the future.

We develop, manage and operate the electricity transmission grid. EirGrid Group is the independent Transmission System Operator (TSO) in Ireland  and Northern Ireland, through EirGrid and SONI, respectively.

We use the grid to connect industry and businesses that use large amounts of electricity. The grid also powers the distribution network - this supplies the electricity you use every day in your homes, businesses, schools, hospitals and farms.

We support competition in energy, promote economic growth, facilitate more renewable energy and provide essential services. We develop new electricity infrastructure only when required.

The Single Electricity Market Operator (SEMO) is part of the EirGrid Group, and operates the Single  Electricity Market (SEM) across the two jurisdictions. EirGrid Group also owns and operates the East-West Interconnector (EWIC), a high-voltage electricity link between Ireland and Great  Britain.

EirGrid plc is a commercial state-owned company. We abide by strict laws and safety standards.

Chairperson's Report

John O'Connor, CHAIRPERSON

Delivering an innovative grid for business and community is what guides us in EirGrid Group

I am pleased to present the 2015 Annual Report of EirGrid plc under the theme of “Connecting Jobs and Prosperity”.

Delivering the right electricity grid and operating it securely and efficiently for the entire island of Ireland, north and south, is what guides us in EirGrid Group. From this flows improvements to the lives of all citizens, businesses and communities, underpinning job creation, prosperity and investment.

Electricity is set to supply a bigger and bigger share of our energy needs in the future.

In the previous Annual Report, I said that the EirGrid Group of Companies was on a constant mission to improve how we do things and that this requires us to embrace change. A year on, I can truthfully say that this commitment can be seen across all aspects of our business. It is evident in the way we are planning for the future needs of the electricity transmission grid. It is evident in the way we are reaching out to and consulting with communities and individuals who are affected by or have an interest in our projects. It is evident in the way we are breaking new ground in accommodating an ever higher share of renewable generation on the grid. It is evident in the large investment in new wholesale electricity market systems to ensure we have the most competitive prices possible. We are also engagedin organisational change within the group and, perhaps more importantly, in embedding throughout the organisation the values and culture that should imbue any company responsible for such a vital public service.

In December 2014, we set about transforming how we engage with communities and the public. Reviewing and Improving our Public Consultation Process set out the 12 commitments by which we would do this.We are now delivering on these commitments and  we are putting in place a whole new framework for the development of grid projects from conception to completion.Full information and local presence will be critical features of this approach.

A similar process is also underway in Northern Ireland.

A further milestone in 2015 was the publication for comment of our draft grid development strategy, ‘Your Grid, Your Views, Your Tomorrow’.

This sets out our plans for ensuring that we have a modern efficient grid into the future, taking account of the latest advances in technology. After taking account of the public’s reaction and the Government’s White Paper on Energy Policy, we will publish a new grid development strategy in 2016. Having taken over responsibility for the planning of grid development  in Northern Ireland, we are also preparing a grid development strategy there.

Your Grid, Your Views, Your Tomorrow sets out our new approach to upgrading the transmission grid and clearly demonstrates our commitment to considering all available technology options – including upgrades to the existing network, overhead lines and underground cables – when developing the grid.

For example, the new strategy includes an innovative solution for the South East region, which is capable of meeting the need for the Grid Link project. The new ‘Regional Option’ involves no new overhead pylons. Instead the advanced use of technology will reinforce the network in the region.

The North South Interconnector is the single most important and most urgent infrastructure project on the island of Ireland.

Designated a ‘Project of Common Interest’ by the European Commission, the North South Interconnector  is urgently needed to secure adequate electricity supply in Northern Ireland and to facilitate the optimal operation of the all-island electricity market for the benefit of people and businesses everywhere. It also provides a local benefit to the people in the North East, by increasing the capacity of the electricity  network in the region. In turn, this will help to attract inward investment and jobs. Subject to the planning process now underway, we are committed to delivering this project as soon as possible for the benefit of electricity consumers in both jurisdictions.
 

EirGrid Group is engaging in many other exciting and ambitious projects.

These include the Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM), an important step in the creation of a single European market for electricity. This project will foster increased competition and exert downward pressure on prices. It will be a major focus for us in the year ahead.In conjunction with moving to the I-SEM model, we continue to explore the feasibility of increasing interconnection from Ireland to the wider European market in the interests of creating a more competitive and integrated market on the island of Ireland.


We are currently undertaking a feasibility study for an interconnector between Ireland and France (the ‘Celtic Interconnector’).  In  2015  significant  investigative work was carried out jointly with our French counterparts and 2016 will see us assessing the business case for the next phase of th project. We continued to make good progress in implementing the DS3 programme which aims to develop and install the systems necessary to safely accommodate up to 75% wind generated electricity on the grid in real time in order to meet the public policy objective of generating 40% of electricity from renewable resources by 2020. EirGrid is recognised as being at the forefront of technology in this area. We have a strong ambition to keep abreast of rapidly changing technologies in the sector and indeed, to fostering technological advancement by co-operating with research and training. We have set up an Innovation Board within the group to guide these activities.

A central theme of the 2015 white paper on energy policy is to put citizens and communities at the heart of the energy transition that is coming.

We in EirGrid fully support this concept in its many dimensions. As a key player in the electricity system, we will now be considering how we can most effectively play our part in realising that ambition.

I would like to thank each of my fellow Directors for his or her contribution and support during the year.A particular word of thanks and good wishes for the future to Regina Moran who resigned as Director during the year. I am glad to welcome the appointment of Michael Hand and Gerry Walsh as new Directors.I also want to pay tribute to the Chief Executive, the Executive Directors and staff for their diligence and excellent work. I wish to thank the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White TD, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland, Jonathan Bell MLA,   his predecessor Arlene Foster MLA and the officials in both Departments for their ongoing co-operation and support.

Chief Executive's Review

Fintan Slye, CHIEF EXECUTIVE

2015 continued a trend of strong financial performance for EirGrid Group

During 2015, revenue grew from €668.3 million to €706.2 million. Profit before tax was €40.7 million, with underlying profits at €16.9 million.

Based on this strong performance, we were able to deliver a proposed dividend of €3.5 million to the shareholder.

We have continued to meet our core responsibility of operating the power system and wholesale electricity market in a high quality, efficient and independent manner. This was done for the benefit of people, communities and businesses in Ireland and Northern Ireland and was carried out in the context of a rapidly changing business environment.

Throughout 2015, we have worked closely with some of the biggest companies in the world to foster jobs and prosperity in communities across the island. Much of this work has focused on the development of data centres - for example, in Athenry, Co. Galway (Apple), Clonee, Co. Meath (Facebook) and Grangecastle, Co. Dublin (Microsoft). Large data centres are high energy users, so they will often connect directly to the electricity grid. Developments such as these bring construction jobs, long-term employment and increased rates to fund local council facilities. Though electricity is just one element of the critical infrastructure that underpins these investments, we work hard to ensure that power quality, energy prices and security of supply bring such customers to the table.

At a strategic level, 2015 afforded the group an opportunity to take the learnings of recent years and implement them in the way we do business. We responded to concerns raised during public consultations on transmission projects by delivering on our programme of 12 commitments that redefined our approach in this area. Though this change has been demanding, it has placed us at the leading edge in how to consult on major infrastructural projects.

A key tenet of the 12 commitments is a more participative approach in our public consultation. This approach to projects has been borne out for example in changes made to the Grid Link project. The report to the Government-appointed Independent Expert Panel (IEP) on this project set out a new and innovative technical solution, the ‘Regional Option’. This solution meets the needs of the project without requiring new, large, overhead infrastructure to be built. Subsequent feedback from stakeholders was overwhelmingly positive towards the decision to proceed with the Regional Option.

2015 was also a milestone year for the North South Interconnector project, as we submitted a planning application to An Bord Pleanála in Dublin in June. In the same month we also submitted the necessary paperwork to the Department of Environment in Belfast, thus completing the information required for recommencement of the Public Inquiry into the project in Northern Ireland.

The North South Interconnector will secure energy supply across the island of Ireland.

The project is envisaged to bring savings of €20 million per year by 2020, rising to €40 million - €60 million each year by 2030.

The process of upgrading and securing the grid in Northern Ireland is progressing well. In West Tyrone, we are developing a new 110 kV line and substations that will improve security of supply. This will also allow us to connect more renewable energy in the region.

In June 2015, we were honoured when the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Jonathan Bell MLA, opened our new SONI headquarters in Castlereagh. Castlereagh House is the base for 120 of our staff and houses the control centre that manages the Northern Ireland grid.

Last year also saw significant progress on our Delivering a Secure and Sustainable Electricity System (DS3) programme.

This work is aimed at enabling us to manage high levels of non-synchronous renewable energy on the system in real time.

For generators and other market participants, the new system services arrangements unveiled in 2015 are a key component of DS3. The arrangements are central to the realisation of Ireland’s 40% renewables target by 2020.

We are working closely with the regulators in Ireland and Northern Ireland on the development of a new set of electricity trading arrangements, I-SEM, that will meet the requirements of the EU “Target Model”, aimed at creating a single internal market for electricity for Europe. This will have far-reaching implications for all participants in the electricity market across the island. A dedicated team, comprising staff from SEMO, EirGrid and SONI, has been established to deliver the new market.

I would like to thank Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White TD, for his positive engagement and support. I would also like to pay tribute to his predecessor, Pat Rabbitte TD, following his retirement.

The commitment, development and aspirations of our staff underpin the success of the group and I want to acknowledge the contribution of all of our people.

They are dedicated to ensuring that the electricity network, market and infrastructure meet the needs of our customers and the communities we serve.

I would like to thank the board, management and staff of EirGrid Group for their support and dedication during the year. We look forward to another year of progress in 2016.

Financial Review

Aidan Skelly, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FINANCE AND LEGAL

The group continues its sound financial position following a strong 2015

The 2015 financial year was another year of solid financial performance for the EirGrid Group, with a dividend of €3.5m proposed to be paid to the shareholder. 

Highlights included a 5.7% increase in revenue year- on-year, with profit before tax of €40.7m.

Revenues and Profitability
Group revenue is primarily derived from regulated tariffs, specifically the Transmission Use of System (TUoS) charge. This is a charge payable by all users of the transmission systems in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Revenues are also derived from auction receipts for the sale of capacity on the East West Interconnector (EWIC).

Group revenue for the year to 30 September 2015 was €706.2m, making it €37.9m (5.7%) higher than the previous year. The higher revenue was mainly due to an increase in the imperfections tariff, reflecting an increase in the constraint costs.

The year to 30 September 2015 was the second full year of operation for EWIC. Revenues fell by€8.2m, from €79.0m in 2014 to €70.8m in 2015, largely as a result of a reduction in auction receipts. This was due to carbon price floor reform in the UK and lower demand for import capacity on the interconnector.

The operating profit as reported for the group for 2015 includes a significant over-recovery on regulated tariffs. This was due to a number of uncertainties that are an inherent aspect of operating in a regulated environment, and the associated accounting treatment of these matters. In accordance with normal regulatory practice, this over-recovery will be corrected for in future tariffs returned to customers. The profit before tax for 2015 was €40.7m. However, excluding those over- recoveries, management’s estimate of the underlying operating profit for 2015 was €16.9m, subject to regulatory uncertainties.

The 2015 results include a €7.9m impairment charge to SONI licence agreements. This reflects the draft determination of the SONI TSO Price Control for 2015 to 2020.

EirGrid paid a dividend of €3m in May 2015 in respect of 2014. A dividend of €3.5m has been proposed for 2015.

Regulation
The group’s TSO activities in Ireland and Northern Ireland are regulated by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) and the Utility Regulator (UR) respectively. In its role as market operator for the SEM, the group is regulated by the SEM Committee, which comprises the CER, the UR, an independent member and a deputy independent member. The group also holds two licences as interconnector operator, one from CER and one from Ofgem (the regulator for gas and electricity markets in Great Britain).

In advance of each tariff period the group submits forecasts of customer demand, operating costs and other revenue requirements to the relevant regulatory authority. Following a detailed review process the regulators will issue a formal determination of the allowable revenue to be recovered by the business. As with any forecast there can be variations between the projections and the actual revenue recovery, or cost outturn, resulting in regulatory under or over recoveries. Any such under or over recoveries are adjusted for in the price determinations for subsequent periods. This can give rise to volatility in the reported statutory earnings of the group, as current accounting regulations do not permit results to be smoothed through the anticipation of under or over recoveries.

CER has recently published its final decision on the EirGrid 2015-2020 TSO Price Control. We continued to engage with UR on the SONI TSO 2015-2020 Price Control.

Financing

The group continues to be in a sound financial position.

Its borrowings have long repayment dates and are fully hedged against interest rate fluctuations. Adequate undrawn facilities are also available to manage liquidity risks.

Key Financial Highlights Non EWIC EWIC Total
2015
Revenue 635.4 70.8 706.2
Direct Costs (353.1) - (531.1)
Other Operating Costs (91.5) (19.7) (111.2)
Operating Profits 8.8 51.1 59.9
Net Finance Costs (0.4) (18.8) (19.2)
Profit Before Tax 8.4 32.2 40.7
Key Financial Highlights Non EWIC EWIC Total
2014
Revenue 589.3 79.0 668.3
Direct Costs (501.2) - (501.2)
Other Operating Costs (80.8) (22.1) (102.9)
Operating Profits 7.3 56.9 64.2
Net Finance Costs (1.2) (18.8) (20.0)
Profit Before Tax 6.1 38.1 44.2

Focus on: Business connections

Martin McCarthy, Customer Relations

The availability, quality, security and cost of electricityare key criteria as multinationals decide to invest in our local communities.

EirGrid has seen a recent upsurge in the number of enquiries from companies interested in establishing data centres.

There are a number of established data centres in Ireland, however they are typically connected to the distribution  system.

During 2014 it became clear that a step change had occurred in terms of interest in Ireland as a location for digital infrastructure. A number of large scale data centre projects are making enquiries with regards to transmission connections.

Along with fibre connectivity, the availability, quality, security and cost of electricity supply are key criteria for these companies when assessing Ireland and Northern Ireland as a data centre location.

Typically, potential customers consider whether there is adequate generation capacity to meet demand in the long-term. They then evaluate how the electricity is generated, with most stating a preference for low- carbon and renewable sources.

The cost of transmission infrastructure is also important - both the cost of the initial connection and the Transmission Use of System (TUoS) charges paid by customers.

Customers developing data centre projects typically target energisation dates that are within 18 - 24 months of entering in to the formal application process. However, full utilisation of capacity is dependent on the uplift of operations at a site.

With respect to choosing a specific location, access to the transmission network is especially important for the largest data centres.These large data centres connecting are all adjacent to strong sections of the electricity transmission system.

We are now working to connect large data centres for some of the biggest companies in the world.

This represents huge growth. We estimate that, once connected, demand for electricity from the data centre sector will have trebled from where we were a year ago.

In addition to projects that are already in a formal process with EirGrid, there are additional connection enquiries that could lead to further significant growth in the sector.

Operations, Planning and Innovation

Robin McCormick, Executive Director Operations, Planning & Innovation

We are committed to leading innovation in response to a constantly changing power system

In Operations, Planning and Innovation (OPI), our role is to operate a safe and secure transmission system for the benefit of all electricity customers. Central to this is regular review of our plans, to ensure that the grid remains fit-for-purpose.

In spring 2015 we published a revised grid development strategy. We reviewed the main network reinforcement projects - Grid Link,Grid West and the North South Interconnector. New options were presented for Grid West and Grid Link, which were well received by stakeholders.

We are also committed to leading innovation in response to a constantly changing power system. In this respect a key focus is on Smart Grids and DS3.

This year, our ground-breaking DS3 Programme won the “Communication & Participation” category of the 2015 RGI “Good Practice of the Year”.

DS3 was also runner-up in the international ‘2015 International Smart Grid Action Network ISGAN Award of Excellence’ competition.

Electricity Demand and System Performance

Electricity demand on the island of Ireland increased slightly over the calendar year 2015, compared to 2014. This growth is expected to be maintained
reflecting  economic recovery.

Generation availability is a measure of the capability of generators to deliver power to the grid. In order for EirGrid Group to operate the transmission system securely and economically, generators must maintain a high rate of availability.

All-island generation availability for the 12 months up to October 2015 was 87%.

Generation margins remained within the standard throughout 2015.

Demand Connections

Over the past year, we have received applications and queries for an unprecedented increase in large scale demand, predominantly from data centres.To date, 284 MVA of data centre connections have accepted or are considering connection offers and a further 334 MVA of applications are currently awaiting connection offers. In addition to the customer projects already in formal processes with EirGrid, approximately 900 MVA of additional enquiries have been received for large demand increases at a number of locations across the island.

We have provided extensive support to these intensive demand customers, providing guidance or pre-feasibility studies on the connection options to enable them to choose suitable locations.

We have also facilitated advanced works packages, allowing customers to undertake initial works packages, in advance of firm contractual positions.In addition, we have enabled customers to build their own shallow connection works, giving them greater control over their timelines and costs.

Northern Ireland Planning

2015 was the first full year in which SONI had responsibility for the transmission planning function in Northern Ireland. The Utility Regulator is currently consulting on SONI and NIE Network's draft paper on Contestability Guidelines Document. As part of this consultation process, SONI and NIE Networks held  a workshop with industry. A recent Utility Regulator determination concluded that applications to NIE Networks do not need to be accompanied with planning  permission.

Innovation

The challenge of anticipating and evolving alongside a constantly changing power system is one which we enjoy responding to. 

We are always looking for new ways to operate the electricity grid, with several pilot projects currently in  operation. Leading this is the Delivering a Secure and Sustainable Electricity System (DS3) programme.

The DS3 programme investigates how we can securely operate the power system with increasing amounts of variable, nonsynchronous renewable generation.

EirGrid Group are also members of European umbrella body ENTSO-E’s Research, Development and Innovation Committee, and collaborate with a number of other research and innovation groups, including the National Science Foundation in the USA.

As a result, NIE Networks have received a remarkable volume of applications (around 800 MW in total, both large scale and small scale generation).

SONI has also progressed its first transmission reinforcement in Northern Ireland to the preconstruction phase. This reinforcement is a proposed new 110/33  kV substation to cater for  demand growth in Belfast City centre and Belfast Harbour area.

 

Consultation, Outreach and Engagement

Rosemary Steen, Executive Director External Affairs

We must meet the needs of stakeholders if we are to deliver a grid that grows in tandem  with the economic development of Ireland and Northern Ireland

In December 2014 we published Reviewing and Improving Our Consultation Process. This comprehensive review, including independent reports from SLR Consulting and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, confirmed that changes were required to how we work with communities, businesses and government.

It shaped a new group philosophy – namely, that we must meet the needs of stakeholders if we are to deliver a grid that grows in tandem with the economic development of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The review contained 12 commitments aimed at achieving a more community-focused approach to grid development. Significant progress was made in delivering these commitments during 2015.

The launch of our draft grid development strategy, Your Grid, Your Views, Your Tomorrow, in March 2015 was another significant step forward for EirGrid Group.
This draft strategy was a response to feedback received from the public during consultations on major grid development projects. It also represented a key part of our efforts to encourage greater participation in our decision-making process.

Your Grid, Your Views, Your Tomorrow also reflected an updated view of the economic context for developing the grid. The strategy also incorporated our  growing experience of promising new transmission technologies.

It included a new regional option for the Grid Link Project and a hybrid option for the Grid West Project. It also concluded that overhead lines are the best solution for the North South Interconnector. We continue to engage with local communities on this key project and have recently initiated a wide-ranging outreach and information campaign. This has resulted in meetings and dialogue with many community members on issues including undergrounding, environmental interests and health concerns.

We are staffing community offices, holding regional discussion forums and are communicating more widely to better explain our plans.

A key initiative has been the appointment of Agriculture and Community Liaison Officers across the island, as well as a public affairs lead in Northern Ireland. The development of a consultation handbook and toolkit, plus the adoption of “plain English” in our publications, further reflects our commitment to meaningful and accessible engagement.
We seek to engage early with public representatives in Stormont and the Oireachtas, and across local government. This provides government feedback while also acting as an avenue to engage with local communities.

Our Chief Executive appeared twice during the year at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications. This was accompanied by outreach and walk-in sessions with Senators and TDs, which provided some valuable feedback.

We also worked within the framework of the Government’s new Regional Action Plan for Jobs. We were delighted when the North  South Interconnector was identified as a key enabler of jobs and development through this forum.

In Northern Ireland, we carried out a significant body of political engagement, which included briefings with all tiers of elected representative across each political party; from Councillors to MEPs. We were honoured when Minister Jonathan Bell opened our new SONI offices in June. We also briefed several of the new local government districts or ‘super-councils’, a programme which will continue throughout 2016.

As we look forward, engagement, consultation and outreach will continue to form a key part of our grid development strategy. While further consultation is not required as part of the planning process for the North South Interconnector, we are  committed to continue informing and engaging with local communities. 

In tandem with this, we launched a new EirGrid Group website. 

The new site is aimed at making our brand more accessible to the public across  the island of Ireland, providing easily understandable information in a more user friendly way.

Last February also saw EirGrid’s first GAA partnership with the sponsorship of the All-Ireland Under 21 Football Championship.

As part of the sponsorship EirGrid introduced a new awards scheme that saw the best players from the championship recognised.

This was followed by an announcement in September that EirGrid would be title sponsor of the 2015 International Rules test match. This saw Ireland regain the Cormac McAnallen Cup through a 56-52 win, in what was widely agreed to be the most entertaining series of recent years.

EirGrid’s  business  spans  the  length  and  breadth of the island of Ireland, mirroring the reach of the  GAA making this sponsorship a perfect fit. Our role in managing and developing Ireland and Northern  Ireland’s electricity grid ensures that young people,

like the participants in this championship, have a bright future both on and off the field.

In tandem with the GAA, SONI launched its sponsorship of the Ulster Senior League in 2015. Like the power which SONI provides, grassroots rugby is at the heart of many communities across Ulster.

We look forward to developing each of these relationships across 2016.

Focus On: 12 Commitments

Graham Parker

In response to the feedback we  received on public consultations, we made the commitment in January 2014 to carry out a review of our consultation  process.

There were four inputs to our review. These included a review of public feedback, an evaluation of international best practice in public consultation, and expert reviews carried out by SLR Consulting Limited and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

In December 2014, we published a review of our approach to public consultation. As part of this we committed to deliver a comprehensive programme of change in the way we manage consultation over the course of 2015. The commitments we have delivered on include:

Developing a participative  approach

We produced our publications in plain English, with clear, straightforward information which will be accessible to all.

We appointed Community Liaison Officers, whose role is to work with communities to develop long-term sustained relationships in their local areas.

In assessing the most appropriate solution for grid development, we placed more emphasis on the effect of our projects on  society.

Change our culture and processes

We streamlined a process to investigate complaints or specific feedback. This is accessible through our website in the ‘Contact’ section.

Our projects will be continuously reviewed to ensure project need, and that all information on the project   is communicated in a transparent and consistent manner.

We recently circulated a consultation handbook to key stakeholders for their feedback. This clearly sets out how people can engage and participate in decisions which shape projects in their communities. Following feedback from our National Advisory Committee (NAC), our consultation handbook will be published later in 2016.

Encourage leadership & advocacy

We implemented new regional discussion forums.These allow members of the public and interest groups  to come together and discuss key areas of our work.

For example in May this year, we held forums in Sligo, Dundalk and Cork, facilitated by Irish Rural Link, to discuss our Draft Grid Development Strategy. The forums generated good engagement among attendees and those who participated via live web streaming.

We continue to ensure that we operate in full compliance  with  European  and  international guidelines in relation to electromagnetic fields (EMF).

The initial results of these changes have been encouraging, and feedback from stakeholders- from community up to government- has been positive.

This process doesn’t end with the delivery of our 12 commitments, and we continue to welcome   your comments on how we can further improve our approach  to consultation.

A similar process is also underway in Northern Ireland, where we hope to publish a review of consultation in the coming months.

Developing the Grid

John Fitzgerald, Executive Director Grid Development & Interconnection

Developing and maintaining the grid is vital to the delivery of a safe, secure and reliable transmission system

Maintaining the grid is vital to ensuring that the  transmission system can operate in a safe, secure and reliable manner for customers.

Transmission Development Strategy

In 2015, we developed a revised transmission development strategy to deliver the best possible solutions for the people of Ireland. The strategy is shaped by three key pillars:

  •  open engagement with communities;
  • making the most of new technologies;
  • getting more capability from the existing grid before we build new transmission infrastructure.

To improve community engagement, we developed a new consultation process and appointed four Agricultural Liaison Officers (ALOs). Our ALOs are available to engage with communities on projects in their areas and other issues that arise.

We continued the role out of high capacity conductors to increase the capability of existing transmission circuits, reducing the need to build new lines. We also completed construction of several substation upgrades which improves operational capability.

New Connections

We received a significant increase in applications from existing and new high energy users for transmission connections primarily in the East and West regions.

We are committed to delivering the grid necessary to foster economic growth and support jobs throughout Ireland. Many of the new connections are under construction or at advanced planning stage. We expect to deliver these important projects in the coming  months  and years.

Delivering the grid to meet future need

In cooperation with NIE Networks and ESB Networks, we identified and submitted an application for planning approval for the North South 400 kV Interconnection Development.

The interconnector will increase the security and reliability of electricity supply to households and businesses throughout the island of Ireland. It will support growth and boost existing industry in the North East region and ensure a continuing reliability of electricity supply. It will enable the all-island wholesale electricity market to work efficiently, allowing for increased competition in electricity supply, thereby offering consumers choice and competitive prices.

In West Tyrone, we are developing a new 110 kV line and substations that will improve security of supply in the region.

We continued the significant redevelopment of the transmission network in the South West, completing a number of new stations and uprating of existing lines in counties Cork and Kerry. The total investment is approximately €400m, and led to direct and indirect employment in the area during the planning and construction phases. The improved network

will facilitate generation in the region and provide a platform for economic growth in the  future.

Interconnection with Europe

Part of EirGrid’s role is to explore interconnection with other countries, in order to ensure security of supply, drive down prices through increased competition and  to  facilitate renewables.

We are currently managing a joint feasibility study with RTE, the French Transmission System Operator, for an Ireland-France Interconnector (the ‘Celtic  Interconnector’).

The results of the feasibility study and business case are due in mid-2016. At this point, a decision will be made on whether or not to proceed to the design and consent phase of the project. I am delighted that the European Commission allocated €3.8m in funding towards the study.

Through engagement, innovation and maximising the capability of the transmission network we strengthen our power supply and ensure there is capacity to support future business investments throughout the island of Ireland.

Focus On: Innovation

The challenge of planning and managing the transmission system will continue to grow as the energy industry evolves.

David Cashman

Among these challenges is an anticipated increase in the level of electricity generation, fuelled by  the connection of wind and the growth of new technologies such as solar photovoltaic (PV) and storage.

Electricity demand will also become more dynamic,  with increasing calls for energy efficiency. We also understand that building new infrastructure is no  longer the default solution to network issues, and that innovation  can  provide  novel alternatives.

Innovative solutions must be tested for the challenges that we face, both now and in the future. To this end, the EirGrid Innovation Board was established in 2015 to provide focus and governance of our innovation projects.

At EirGrid Group, we are currently running several innovation projects, designed to future-proof the grid and keep us at the forefront of energy developments. These include:

 AES Battery

A 10 MW battery storage device was installed in Kilroot Power Station in Northern Ireland. This device, which is the largest of its kind on the island of Ireland, can provide additional reserve to the power system.

Schwundgrad Energie

In Co. Offaly, a flywheel-battery pilot project is underway. Approximately 40 jobs were provided in the construction phase of the pilot   project.

DS3

The main project designed to help deliver on the 2020 renewable electricity targets is the programme for Delivering a Secure and Sustainable Electricity System (DS3). The DS3 Programme is designed to ensure that we can securely operate the power system with increasing amounts of variable, nonsynchronous renewable generation.

Tower voltage uprates

This programme is testing two new tower types, which may reduce the need for new lines by converting existing 220 kV lines to 400    kV.

Tower Router

The tower router device optimises existing infrastructure through redirection of power   flows.

Composite pole design

Type testing of new 220 kV towers that could provide an additional option in reducing the visual impact of pylons.

Innovation in User Technology

A number of user-led pilot and demonstration projects were supported by EirGrid Group during 2015. These projects used existing technology and new technologies at transmission scale to demonstrate how they may be used in the future.

Residential Demand Side Management trial

An industry-wide competition was run to have a residential consumer-based demand response project in operation in 2016. If successful, this could enable residential consumer participation in forthcoming System Services processes.

Research and Development

Research and Development is a key area of  focus  for  EirGrid,  facilitating  the  introduction of innovative solutions to plan and operate the power system. We are key project partners  in  three Research and Development projects funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.

RealValue

A €15.5m project, with twelve partners across Europe, RealValue aims to show how local small- scale energy storage could bring benefits to energy users. RealValue spans the entire value chain,

from householders, through supply, distribution, transmission and generation, to system operators. The business case for small-scale storage will be evaluated and the barriers associated with its integration into the electricity grid and energy markets will be identified.

PROMOTioN

PROMOTioN is a €39m Horizon 2020 project which will overcome barriers of high converter cost, lack of protection systems, immature international regulations and financial instruments associated with offshore wind and grids.

MIGRATE

This is a €16m Horizon 2020 project which will develop control methods for a system approaching and reaching 100% power electronic penetration, on both the load and generation side.

Market Operations

Rodney Doyle, Executive Director Market Operations

Management of the Single Electricity Market (SEM) and development of the I-SEM made for a busy 2015

Free trade across borders is the foundation of the single  European market.

This principle applies to the energy sector, where the creation of a single European market for electricity and gas is an important goal of the EU.

To achieve this goal, electricity markets throughout the EU are being aligned with a common European “Target Model” for cross-border electricity trading.

The all-island wholesale Single Electricity Market (SEM) has been in place since 2007 and is run by the Single Electricity Market Operator (SEMO), a joint venture between EirGrid and SONI.

It is regulated by the SEM Committee, which comprises the CER, URegNI, an independent member and a deputy  independent member.

The SEM concept provides for a competitive, sustainable and reliable wholesale market in electricity, delivering long-term economic and social benefits that are mutually advantageous to Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Over the past year, SEM has added 11 new participants. A total of 32 units were also registered, including users of Moyle Interconnector and the East West Interconnector.

The SEM Committee has now been instructed to develop a new set of electricity trading arrangements that will meet the requirements of the EU “Target Model”.

The SEM Committee published the high-level design for I-SEM in September 2014 and this marks a significant period of change for market participants.

The arrangements affect all participants in the market and will be implemented via the Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM) programme.

It is anticipated that I-SEM will bring benefits, including:

  • A more open and efficient pan-European electricity market  delivering  benefits  to consumers;
  • Increased access to cheaper sources of electricity;
  • Access to a market into which we can sell our electricity;
  • A basis for the development of intraday, forward, day-ahead and balancing markets that enable investors  and  operators  manage risk.

Since the high-level design decision was published in September 2014, the regulators have progressed the detailed design of the market through a number of consultations and decisions. We are now implementing the systems and process needed for I-SEM and will be engaging with participants right through 2016 via a series of planned workshops.

EirGrid Group has made a major contribution to the development of the design throughout this process.

We will continue to work with industry and our European partners to consider suitable implementation for the  I-SEM. 

The process for the development of the market rules has also been initiated through the establishment of the Market Rules Working Group, comprising representatives from the regulators, participants and EirGrid.

This group is focused on delivering

  • Central Systems and Services
  • Central  Arrangements
  • Operational Capability
  • Participant Engagement and Market Readiness

It is planned that the I-SEM will be up and running by the end of 2017.

Focus On: Our Energy Performance

Liam Griffin

We work to lead corporate improvement in responsible energy consumption.

Overview of Energy Usage in 2015

In 2015, EirGrid plc consumed 4128 MWh of energy at its offices in Ballsbridge and Business Continuity Centre:

  • 3,172 MWh of electricity;
  • 956 MWh of fossil fuels;
  • 0 MWh from onsite renewable  fuels.

Actions Undertaken in 2015

In 2015 we undertook a range of initiatives to improve its  energy  performance including:

  • Completing Energy Map Training;
  • Installation of a system to better manage cooling within the data  centre;
  • Fine-tuning of building systems, including measures to ensure the main heating and cooling systems within EirGrid’s control are only operational when required.

Actions Planned for 2016

In 2016 we plan to further improve our energy performance  by  undertaking  the  following initiatives:

  • Further optimisation of the computer and IT datacentre environment including investigating the potential for free air  cooling;
  • Further improve the building environment, including additional lighting replacement and the upgrading of the building energy management system to a cloud based solution.

Our People

Siobhán Toale, Executive Director Human Resources & Corporate Services

A new group structure was implemented in 2015, making it easier for us to do business

The Human Resources and Corporate Services directorate of the group includes Organisational Development, Internal Communications, Information Systems (IS) and Facilities. We are tasked with managing change and improving internal business processes across the EirGrid Group.

Recruitment

It’s been a busy year on the recruitment side, with almost 70 staff hired over the past  year.

Our new hires have come into the business across a broad range of disciplines, including Engineering, IT, Finance and Public Affairs. We have also new engineering graduates on the group graduate programme.

In addition, college students from IT and engineering disciplines were selected to work in our Dublin and Belfast offices. 15 transition year students also gained experience with us over 2015.

New Organisation Structure

A new structure was implemented with the objective of making it easier to do business. This new structure will help us to:

  • Achieve the ambitious targets we have set out in our Group Strategy;
  • Change the way we operate for the  better;
  • Engage in a different way with external stakeholders, our customers and the communities in which we operate;
  • Be more agile, flexible and change oriented;
  • Be more accountable, transparent and commercially focused.

Employee  Engagement

At EirGrid Group, we have five company values. These are:

  • We deliver on our promises;
  • We behave with integrity;
  • We recognise that our people are our greatest asset;
  • We innovate to drive value for all our customers;
  • We behave in a socially responsible manner.

In 2015 we delivered an employee engagement programme aligned to these values, with the objective of ensuring that staff know the important part that they play in the success of the group.

Key successes in this area include:

Our new recognition programme ‘Going the Extra Mile’ was launched which recognises staff who go further to make EirGrid Group better.

During 2015 we refreshed our approach to staff development.

We launched a new group staff skills development programme (Eirskills). This has helped our people develop their competencies and carry out their roles. Programmes are running in Belfast and Dublin, helping people to improve our flexibility and adaptability, embed our values and behaviours and become more community focused.

We remain committed to bringing the latest thinking and best practice to bear in our approach to development across the  group.

New Belfast Offices

We officially opened our new SONI offices in Belfast in June 2015 and work is underway to open additional regional offices in 2016.

New Website

A new website- www.eirgridgroup.com- was launched which provides more easily understandable information in a more user friendly way. The new site  provides general information on EirGrid Group, EirGrid and SONI TSOs. It also delivers information on grid projects, explaining how the grid works, information for customers and industry, news and media, and a library for publications and documents.

IS Systems

Staff have worked hard to maintain the availability of our IS systems to run the business. They have developed systems that support our business

regionally, enabling our staff at head office to engage with their counterparts in our local communities.

We are also in the final stages of commissioning a new state of the art, energy management system (EMS).

This will enable the operation of the power system on an all-island basis and improve our control centre business continuity capabilities. Additionally the new EMS will provide enhanced functionality for the facilitation  of renewables and the support of the 2020 targets. The EMS has been central to the management of an ever expanding power system. It is continually being  enhanced to meet new technical challenges such as the variability of wind power and control of interconnection.

Focus On: Corporate Social Responsibility

Alan Kelly

We have a well- established programme of community support through education initiatives, staff charity, volunteering and sponsorship schemes.

At EirGrid Group, we are driven to provide a sustainable service to the public through responsible business practice. We are dedicated to achieving business success, while respecting the communities and environment with which we interact.

Each year our staff select two charities to support. In 2015, our chosen charities were Our Lady’s Hospice and Marie Curie Cancer Care. For the third year running, a charity EirGrid Group cycle was held in memory of our colleague Joanne Kearney, raising money for Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross.

In recognising how EirGrid staff contribute to their own local communities, the group supports staff members who volunteer by donating to their   chosen

initiatives. We sponsored a number of events including the Euro-Toques Food Awards, where food producers from across Ireland are recognised for outstanding achievement.

We have also worked with staff to improve their working experience, as detailed in the ‘Our People’ section of this report on page 32.

We continue to support the education and development of young people through a range of initiatives. Through our partnership with Business in the Community we have continued to work with Margaret Aylward Community College in Dublin.

We have further worked to improve stakeholder engagement in the past year, publishing a review of our approach to consultation, while increasing outreach and discussion.

Working with the National Adult Literacy Agency, we have worked to roll-out ‘plain English’ in many of our public-facing documents - an exercise that we will continue into 2016.

Annually, we support young people by providing meaningful work placements.  We have tapped into the wealth of technical knowledge and ability across the organisation to give particular support to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives such as the school science projects, hosting of schemes such as Women in Engineering and Engineering our Future.

John O'ConnorChairman

John O’Connor was appointed Chairperson of the Board of EirGrid with effect from 12 November 2013. From 2000 to 2011, he was the Chairperson of An Bord Pleanála, the independent national tribunal for the determination of planning appeals and strategic infrastructure projects. Prior to that, he served for 35 years as a civil servant in the Department of the Environment where he occupied senior positions as Finance Officer, Principal Housing Policy and Finance and Assistant Secretary in charge of the Planning and Water Services Division. He has also served as director of three commercial State Bodies: the Housing Finance Agency, Temple Bar Properties and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority. He is also the Chairperson of the Pyrite Resolution Board. He holds a Diploma in Public Administration from UCD.

Fintan SlyeChief Executive

Fintan Slye was appointed Chief Executive of EirGrid on 1 October, 2012. He had previously held the position of Director of Operations of EirGrid, in which he had responsibility for the operation of the power system in Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as for managing EirGrid and SONI’s programme of work to facilitate the integration of world-leading levels of renewables on the power system. Before his appointment to that position, Fintan worked for McKinsey & Co in their Dublin office, supporting companies across Ireland, UK and Europe. Prior to that, he held a number of project and management roles in ESB National Grid and ESB International. Fintan completed a Masters in Business Administration from UCD in 2001 and a Masters in Engineering Science in 1993.

Dr. Joan SmythBoard Member

Joan Smyth was appointed to the EirGrid Board in June 2009 for a period of five years. She is Chairman of the Progressive Building Society for the past five years and a Director of Trinity Housing Association. She is also President of the Red Cross, Northern Ireland. In 2009 she completed more than five years in office as Chair of the Chief Executives' Forum. She has served two terms as Chair of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company from 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2005 and was Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission for NI from 1992 (Chair & Chief Executive until 1 October 1998) remaining in post until the new Equality Commission was established in October 1999. She was elected to the Board of the British Council in September 1999 and has chaired its Northern Ireland Committee. Dr. Smyth has a BSc (Econ) from Queen’s University, Belfast and is a Companion of the Institute of Personnel and Development. She is an Independent Assessor for Public Appointments. Dr. Smyth is also a past Federation President of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland. She was awarded a CBE in the 1998 New Year’s Honours List.

Richard SterlingBoard Member

Richard Sterling is former Managing Director of Coolkeeragh Power Limited based in Derry and is a past President of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. He was appointed a Board Member of Ilex, the Urban Regeneration Company for the Derry City Council area in 2003, and during his six year term he served as Acting Chairman and Deputy Chairman. Richard was awarded an OBE in 2003 for services to the Basic Skills Committee and to business in Northern Ireland.

Doireann BarryBoard Member

Doireann Barry was appointed to the Board of EirGrid in December 2011 for a period of five years, following her election as the EirGrid staff representative. She has been involved in the electricity industry since 1999 and has worked in many areas across EirGrid. In her current role, as Smart Grid Programme Manager, she has responsibility for the coordination of all Smart Grid-related activities in EirGrid Group. She has represented the company both nationally and internationally, as a speaker at conferences. She is an Electrical Engineering graduate of University College Cork and is a member of Engineers Ireland.

Michael HandBoard Member

Michael Hand was appointed to the EirGrid Board in July 2015 for a period of five years. Michael has extensive experience over 30 years as a senior leader in the consulting engineering and construction sectors in Ireland and latterly as CEO and Director of Grangegorman Development Agency. During his career he has played a lead role in the growth and development of PH McCarthy Consulting Engineers, a leading multidisciplinary business as Director, Managing Director and Executive Chairman. Following the merger of the business with WYG Group plc he was Managing Director of the WYG Engineering Ireland business for 3 years before joining GDA in 2010. He has a track record in the design and delivery of major strategic infrastructure projects throughout Ireland.

Michael is highly qualified in engineering and business and is a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered Director and a Chartered Water & Environment Manager. He holds a degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration. In 2014, he was conferred with a Honorary Doctorate by DIT in recognition of his contribution as an engineer, a public servant and as a servant to his community. He is a Fellow of four professional institutions.

Niamh CahillCompany Secretary

Lawyer Niamh Cahill is the Company Secretary for EirGrid plc. the electricity Transmission System Operator and jointly with SONI Ltd the Single Electricity Market Operator for the Island of Ireland. Niamh a graduate of NUI Galway BA (Hons) and LL B (Hons) and holds a BL from King’s Inns, Dublin. She was called to the Bar in Ireland in 1985 and the UK Bar (Middle Temple Inn) in 1988. She has extensive experience both in private practice (Four Courts, Ireland) and as an in-house legal Counsel worked for a wide range of major international private and public companies in the Republic of Ireland and the UK. Prior to joining EirGrid, Niamh worked as a senior commercial Lawyer within ESB Group, where she had responsibility for managing and mitigating a wide range of commercial legal risks in the Irish electricity market and ESB’s international investments.

Fintan SlyeChief Executive

Fintan Slye was appointed Chief Executive of EirGrid on 1 October, 2012. He had previously held the position of Director of Operations of EirGrid, in which he had responsibility for the operation of the power system in Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as for managing EirGrid and SONI’s programme of work to facilitate the integration of world-leading levels of renewables on the power system. Before his appointment to that position, Fintan worked for McKinsey & Co in their Dublin office, supporting companies across Ireland, UK and Europe. Prior to that, he held a number of project and management roles in ESB National Grid and ESB International. Fintan completed a Masters in Business Administration from UCD in 2001 and a Masters in Engineering Science in 1993.

Siobhan ToaleDirector, Human Resource & Corporate Services

Siobhan Toale was appointed Director of Human Resources & Corporate Services in July 2015 having previously held the position of Director of Human Resources since joining EirGrid in 2013. Siobhan has extensive HR, Leadership Development and Change Management experience from the Telecommunications and Banking Industries. She has previously held senior HR positions in eircom, Telefonica 02 Ireland and Bank of Ireland Group. Siobhan has a BSc(Comp) from Trinity College Dublin and an MSc in Organisational Behaviour from Birkbeck College, University of London.

Rodney DoyleDirector, Market Operations & General Manager, SEMO

Rodney Doyle was appointed Director of Market Operations and General Manager, Single Electricity Market Operator (SEMO) in July 2015 having previously held the position of Director of Information Services since February 2013. Rodney also held a number of other positions in EirGrid including European Market Integration Manager; Manager of the East West Interconnector business readiness project, and Ancillary Services Manager. Rodney has across his roles led projects to deliver major systems and policies which are in use today across the electricity market and the TSO's. Before his time with EirGrid and ESB National Grid Rodney worked as the chief adviser in the networks division of the Competition Authority of New Zealand concentrating on electricity and gas regulation/market design issues and before that worked in consultancy. Rodney is a member of a number of key European TSO and market cooperation groups. Rodney has a BA (Economics), MA (Economics) and an MBA from UCD.

John FitzgeraldDirector, Grid Development & Interconnection

John Fitzgerald was appointed Director of Grid Development & Interconnection in July 2015, having previously held the position of Director of Grid Development since February 2013. Prior to this, John was Project Director of the East West Interconnector. Before joining EirGrid, John was involved in the area of business development for ESB International where he held a number of management positions including Business Development Manager, Manager for Trading and Supply (Northern Ireland) and Commercial Manager for Coolkeeragh ESB. John has been involved in the successful development of major energy infrastructure projects and corporate initiatives in the electricity and gas sectors across Ireland, UK and Europe. A graduate of University College Dublin, he is a Bachelor of Electronic Engineering and holds an MBA from the UCD School of Business.

Robin McCormickDirector, Operations, Planning & Innovation and General Manager, SONI Ltd.

Robin McCormick was appointed Director of Operations, Planning & Innovation in July 2015 and is also the General Manager of SONI Ltd. Robin previously held the role of General Manager of the Single Electricity Market Operator (SEMO) and SONI.

He has 28 years’ experience in the power industry in a regulated utility environment. In his role as Director, he is responsible for the operation and planning of the power system in Ireland and Northern Ireland, Robin is a fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and Vice Chairman of the IET Engineering Policy Group – Northern Ireland. He holds an MBA from the University of Ulster, Jordanstown, and an MSc from Napier University, Edinburgh.

Aidan SkellyDirector, Finance & Legal

Aidan Skelly was appointed Director of Finance & Legal in July 2015. Aidan previously held the position of Chief Financial Officer since June 2005. He was formerly Finance Director with Waterford Stanley Limited. He worked with Waterford Crystal from 1987 to 2002, during which time he held a number of finance and commercial positions in Ireland and in the UK. He trained as a Chartered Accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers and is a Commerce graduate of University College Dublin. He also holds an MBS from Dublin City University.

Rosemary SteenDirector, External Affairs

Rosemary Steen was appointed Director of External Affairs in July 2015 having previously held the position of Director of Public Affairs since joining EirGrid in 2014. Rosemary has extensive Corporate Affairs, Government Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility experience from the Telecommunications, Utilities and Business Industry Body sectors. She has previously held senior positions in Vodafone, Shell and IBEC. Rosemary has a BA in Economics and Philosophy from Trinity College Dublin, an MBS in Logistics and Manufacturing from University College Dublin and a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Studies from Dublin Institute of Technology.

Niamh CahillCompany Secretary

Lawyer Niamh Cahill is the Company Secretary for EirGrid plc the electricity Transmission System Operator and jointly with SONI Ltd the Single Electricity Market Operator for the Island of Ireland. Niamh a graduate of NUI Galway BA (Hons) and LL B (Hons) and holds a BL from King’s Inns, Dublin. She was called to the Bar in Ireland in 1985 and the UK Bar (Middle Temple Inn) in 1988. She has extensive experience both in private practice (Four Courts, Ireland) and as an in-house legal Counsel worked for a wide range of major international private and public companies in the Republic of Ireland and the UK. Prior to joining EirGrid, Niamh worked as a senior commercial Lawyer within ESB Group, where she had responsibility for managing and mitigating a wide range of commercial legal risks in the Irish electricity market and ESB’s international investments.

Financial Statements

Director's Report

The Directors present their annual report and the audited Financial Statements of the Group for the financial year ended 30 September 2015.

Principal Activities

The Group’s principal activities are to deliver quality connection, transmission and market services to generators, suppliers and customers utilising the high voltage electricity system in Ireland and Northern Ireland. EirGrid plc      also has the responsibility to put in place the grid infrastructure required to support the development of Ireland’s  and Northern Ireland’s economies. The Group is also responsible for the operation of the wholesale electricity  market for the island of Ireland. The Group owns and operates the East-West Interconnector (EWIC) linking the electricity grids in Ireland and Great   Britain.

The Group collects tariffs to support these activities. These tariffs allow for incentives and a regulated return for capital invested in the business, generating value for the Group over the longer term.

Results and Review of the Business

Details of the financial results of the Group are set out in the Consolidated Income Statement on page 64 and the related notes 1 to 30.

The current period being reported on is the year ended 30 September 2015. The comparative figures are for the year ended 30 September 2014. The impact of EWIC on the Income Statement has been split out to aid comparability. Further detail on EWIC is included in Note 7 including the impact on current year reported profit.

In line with normal regulatory procedures the regulators, Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) in Ireland and Utility Regulator Northern Ireland (URegNI) in Northern Ireland, are currently in the process of determining TSO price controls for the five year period commencing 1 October 2015.

Commentaries on performance during the year ended 30 September 2015, including information on recent events and future developments, are contained in the Chairperson’s Report and the Chief Executive’s Review.

Corporate Governance

The Group is committed to maintaining the highest standards of corporate governance. During the year the Group was compliant with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies (‘the Code’) issued by the Department of Finance on 15 June 2009. The Code sets out the principles of corporate governance which the

Boards of State Bodies are required to observe. The Group also complies with the corporate governance and other obligations imposed by the Ethics in Public Office Act, 1995 and the Standards in Public Office Act, 2001. The Group also has regard to the principles of the UK Corporate Governance Code revised in September 2014 and the Irish Corporate Governance Annex issued in December 2010.

Principles of Good Governance

Board Members

The Board consists of a non-executive Chairperson, the Chief Executive, in his role as an executive Director, an employee representative Director and seven non-executive Directors. All Directors are appointed by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and their terms of office are set out in writing.

The Board

While day to day responsibility for the leadership and control of the Group is delegated to the Chief Executive and his Management Team, within defined authority limits, the Board is ultimately responsible for the performance of the Group.

The Directors are aware of, and have individually resolved to comply with, the Group’s Code of Business Conduct for Directors.

Procedures are in place for the annual review of the performance of the Board and the Chairperson.

The Board has a formal schedule of matters specifically reserved to it for decision at the Board Meetings normally held monthly. Board papers, which include monthly financial statements, are sent to Board members in the week prior to Board Meetings.

The Board Members, in the furtherance of their duties, may avail of independent professional advice. All Board Members have access to the advice and services of the Company Secretary. Insurance cover is in place to protect Board Members and Officers against liability arising from legal actions taken against them in the course of their duties.

The Board conducts an annual review of the effectiveness of the system of internal controls including financial, compliance and risk management. As noted in the Internal Controls section of the Directors’ Report, the Board has not identified, nor been advised of, any failings or weaknesses which it has determined to be significant.

Board Committees in 2015

The Board has an effective committee structure to assist in the discharge of its responsibilities, consisting of a number of committees. The five standing committees are: the Audit Committee, the Remuneration Committee, the Grid Infrastructure Projects Committee, the Pensions Committee and the Public Affairs Committee. During the year the Board reviewed and updated the membership of its committees.

The Audit Committee’s function is to assist the Board in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities relating to the financial reporting process, the system of internal control, the audit process, monitoring the independence of the auditors and compliance with laws and regulations including the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies. The Board is satisfied that at all times during the year at least one member of the Committee had recent and relevant financial experience.

EirGrid has regard to Government policy in relation to the total remuneration of the Chief Executive. The Remuneration Committee, with the consent of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, determines the level of the Chief Executive’s remuneration. The Committee also approves the structure of remuneration for Senior Management.

The Grid Infrastructure Projects Committee’s function is to oversee the implementation of grid development strategy and review infrastructure projects which are expected to come forward for approval in the near future.

The Pensions Committee’s function is to monitor the sustainability of the various EirGrid Group pension obligations entered into and the ongoing viability of each of the schemes.

The Public Affairs Committee’s function is oversight of public affairs and stakeholder engagements across the Group.

Attendance at Meetings

Board Meetings
There were 11 Board meetings held during the year ended 30 September 2015. The Board Members’ attendances at these meetings were as set out below:

Eligible to Attend Attended
John O’Connor (Chairperson) 11 11
Doireann Barry 11 10
Gary Healy 11 10
Regina Moran (resigned 1 July 2015) 9 7
Liam O’Halloran 11 11
Bride Rosney 11 10
Fintan Slye 11 11
Joan Smyth 11 10
Richard Sterling 11 11
Michael Hand (appointed 22 July 2015) 1 1
Gerry Walsh (appointed 22 July 2015) 1 1

Members of the Board at the date of signing of the financial statements were John O’Connor (Chairperson), Doireann Barry, Michael Hand, Gary Healy, Liam O’Halloran, Bride Rosney, Fintan Slye, Joan Smyth, Richard Sterling and Gerry Walsh.

Audit Committee

There were 5 Audit Committee meetings held during the year ended 30 September 2015. The Committee Members’ attendance at these meetings were as set out below:

Eligible to Attend Attended
Richard Sterling (Chairperson) 5 5
Doireann Barry 5 4
Gary Healy 5 5
Joan Smyth (resigned 21 October 2015) 5 5

Members of the Audit Committee at the date of signing of the financial statements were Richard Sterling (Chairperson), Doireann Barry, Gary Healy, and Gerry Walsh (appointed 21 October 2015).

Remuneration Committee

There were 6 Remuneration Committee meetings held during the year ended 30 September 2015. The Committee Members’ attendance at these meetings were as set out below:

Eligible to Attend Attended
Joan Smyth (Chairperson) 6 6
Liam O’Halloran 6 6
John O’Connor 6 6

Members of the Remuneration Committee at the date of signing of the financial statements were Joan Smyth (Chairperson), Liam O’Halloran and John   O’Connor.

Grid  Infrastructure  Projects Committee

There were 5 Grid Infrastructure Projects Committee meetings held during the year ended 30 September 2015. The Committee Members’ attendance at these meetings were as set out below:

Eligible to Attend Attended
John O’Connor (Chairperson) 5 5
Liam O’Halloran (resigned 21 October 2015) 5 5
Bride Rosney 5 5
Richard Sterling 5 5

Members of the Grid Infrastructure Projects Committee at the date of signing of the financial statements were John O’Connor (Chairperson), Michael Hand (appointed 21 October 2015), Bride Rosney and Richard Sterling.

Pensions Committee

There were 3 Pensions Committee meetings held during the year ended 30 September 2015. The Committee Members’ attendance at these meetings were as set out below:

Eligible to Attend Attended
Regina Moran (Chairperson) (resigned 1 July 2015) 3 3
Doireann Barry 3 3
Gary Healy (Chairperson) (appointed Chairperson 15 July 2015) 3 3
Fintan Slye 3 3

Members of the Pensions Committee at the date of signing of the financial statements were Gary Healy (Chairperson), Doireann Barry, Michael Hand (appointed 21 October 2015), Fintan Slye and Joan Smyth (appointed 21 October 2015).

Public Affairs Committee

There were 4 Public Affairs Committee meetings held during the year ended 30 September 2015. The Committee Members’ attendance at these meetings were as set out below:

Eligible to Attend Attended
Bride Rosney (Chairperson) 4 3
Liam O’Halloran 4 3
Joan Smyth 4 4

Members of the Public Affairs Committee at the date of signing of the financial statements were Bride Rosney (Chairperson), Liam O’Halloran, Joan Smyth and Gerry Walsh (appointed 21 October 2015). 

Principal Risks and Uncertainties

Risk Management

The Group has in place an appropriate risk management process that identifies the critical risks to which it is exposed and ensures that appropriate risk mitigation measures are taken. During the year the Directors have carried out a robust assessment of the principal risks facing the Group. The Group’s internal audit function continually reviews the internal controls and systems throughout the business, makes recommendations for improvement and reports to the Audit Committee.

Financial

The main financial risks faced by the Group relate to liquidity risk, market risk (specifically foreign exchange rate risk, interest rate risk and cash flow risk) and credit risk. Policies to protect the Group from these risks are regularly reviewed, revised and approved by the Board as appropriate.

The Group’s principal financial risk is that there is inadequate liquidity in the event of a significant regulatory under-recovery. The Board seeks to ensure that adequate banking lines are in place to enable it to fund such a requirement, pending recovery in a subsequent regulatory pricing period.

As a regulated business, operating in Ireland and Northern Ireland, the Transmission System Operator activities do not involve any significant pricing risks. The Group derives approximately 23% of its revenues from the UK and hence has an exposure to Euro/Sterling currency fluctuations. This risk is partially mitigated by the majority of both revenue and expenditure from UK operations being denominated in Sterling. The Group has sought to further reduce this exposure by funding UK operations using Sterling borrowings.

The Group funds some of its operations using borrowings. The Group seeks to minimise the effects of the interest rate risks arising from its operational and financial activity by using derivative financial instruments to hedge risk exposures. The Group has entered into interest rate derivatives to fix interest rates on its debt. The Group does not enter into or trade financial instruments, including derivative financial instruments, for speculative purposes.

The Group discharges its Market Operator obligations through a contractual joint venture. Under the terms of the Trading and Settlement Code for the Single Electricity Market (SEM) each participant is required to provide credit cover at a level notified to it by the Market Operator. Such credit cover can be provided by means of an irrevocable standby letter of credit or a cash deposit held in a SEM collateral reserve account (security accounts held in the name of market participants). Any bad debt arising in the SEM, to the extent that it exceeds the available credit cover, is shared by generators and is not borne by the Market Operator. Appropriate arrangements are also in place to effectively manage the Group’s credit risk arising from its Transmission System Operator activities.

Credit risk refers to the risk that a counterparty will default on its contractual obligations resulting in financial loss to the Group. The Group is exposed to credit risk from the counterparties with whom it holds its bank accounts. The Group mitigates its exposure by spreading funds across a number of financial institutions which have a credit rating, from an independent rating agency, consistent with the Treasury Policy approved by the Board. The Group is also exposed to counterparty risk on undrawn facilities and interest rate swap instruments. Consistent with our Treasury Policy the Group deals only with counterparties with high credit ratings to mitigate this risk.

The Group’s policy and practice is to settle invoices promptly according to terms and conditions agreed with suppliers.

System and Market Operations

The Group is responsible for the secure operation of the transmission systems in Ireland and Northern Ireland and for the operation of the all-island Single Electricity Market. A complete programme is in place to discharge this responsibility. This includes:

  • Back-up sites for the control centres in Dublin and Belfast, which are regularly tested;
  • Comprehensive insurance program placed in conjunction with expert insurance advisors;
  • Comprehensive power system operational procedures which are regularly reviewed and are in line with best international practice;
  • Grid maintenance standards and policies, supported by a detailed Infrastructure Agreement with ESB as the Transmission Asset Owner in Ireland;
  • Transmission System Security and Planning Standards, supported by a Transmission Interface Arrangement with NIE as the Transmission Asset Owner in Northern Ireland;
  • Support of the pre-construction phase of the development of the network in Ireland and Northern Ireland by a fully functioning Program Management Office, which has effective and appropriate policies, processes and controls; and
  • Continuous management focus on all aspects of health and safety. A Safety Management System (certified to OHSAS 18001) has been approved and implemented.

Pensions

EirGrid operates two defined benefit schemes for qualifying employees. Risks to the cost of providing such schemes include changes in interest rates, level of return on pension assets, changes in life expectancies and changes in price and salary inflation. The current IAS19 deficit included in the financial statements at 30 September 2015 is €27.2m (2014: €18.5m). EirGrid has independent pension advisors in place and there is a dedicated Committee of the Board focused exclusively on the Pension commitments across the Group.

Network Development

EirGrid has the responsibility to put in place the grid infrastructure required to support the development of Ireland’s and Northern Ireland’s economies. EirGrid’s principal activities in this regard are the planning for, and delivery of, new connections to generators and customers utilising, or seeking to utilise, the high voltage electricity system and transmission network reinforcement projects across Ireland and Northern Ireland. There is a risk of delay and consequential increase in cost associated with complex network projects of this nature. To manage this, EirGrid publishes guidance on network development and has a robust project assessment framework in place. It also continually assesses its processes and procedures to ensure that they are in line with best practice and appropriate for the business and meets the needs of the public and those communities we engage with.

Regulated Environment

EirGrid operates in a regulated environment (with the exception of its relatively small Telecoms business). Regulatory policy changes could materially affect how we operate and our financial performance. We have a dedicated Regulatory team in place and seek to engage constructively and pro-actively at all times with the Regulatory Authorities.

East-West Interconnector

The Group is responsible for the asset management and operation of the East-West Interconnector (EWIC) which links the electricity grids in Ireland and Great Britain. There is a risk of physical damage to the EWIC resulting in possible prolonged outage of the EWIC together with significant reinstatement costs; however there are comprehensive operational procedures and maintenance arrangements for the East-West Interconnector in place, including appropriate insurance arrangements. 

Internal Controls

An internal control system encompasses the policies, processes, tasks, behaviours and other aspects of a Group that, taken together:

  • Facilitate effective and efficient operations by enabling the Group to respond to risks;
  • Ensure the quality of internal and external reporting; and
  • Ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations and internal policies.

The Board has overall responsibility for the Group’s systems of internal control and for monitoring their effectiveness and in this regard the Board’s objective is to maintain a sound system of internal control to safeguard shareholders’ interests and the Group’s assets. These systems are designed to provide reasonable, but not absolute, assurance against material misstatement or loss. In order to discharge its responsibility in a manner which ensures compliance with legislation and regulations, the Board established an organisational structure with clear reporting procedures, lines of responsibility, authorisation limits, segregation of duties and delegated authority.

The key elements of the Group’s internal control processes are:

  • Defined policies and procedures in relation to expenditure and treasury matters;
  • Timely financial reporting on a monthly basis;
  • Preparation of, and monitoring performance against, annual budgets which are reviewed and approved by the Board;
  • An internal audit function which reviews critical systems and controls;
  • An Audit Committee that considers audit reports and approves Financial Statements before submission to the Board and Shareholders;
  • Regular performance of a risk management process; and
  • Procedures to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.

The Group has put in place a framework for monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of internal controls, including its risk management process. The Directors confirm that they have reviewed the effectiveness of the system of internal control operated during the period covered by these Financial Statements. During the course of this review, the Board has not identified, nor been advised of, any failings or weaknesses which it has determined to be significant. Therefore a confirmation in respect of necessary actions has not been considered appropriate.

The Group has an Internal Audit function which delivers an annual programme of audits to ensure that there are effective controls operating across key financial processes and those areas of higher risk exposure. The Group’s Head of Internal Audit & Compliance reports to the Audit Committee quarterly and, on an annual basis, presents an assurance statement on the effectiveness of internal control, risk management and corporate governance. Under the internal audit arrangements in place, Internal Audit has access to external specialist resources to support its activities. 

Directors’ Remuneration

The Financial Statements include €112,000 (2014: €108,000) for Chairperson’s and Directors’ fees, in accordance with the Department of Finance approved levels of remuneration for the Chairperson and Board Members of State Bodies and the revised arrangements for payment of board fees to public sector employees under the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s “One Person One Salary” Principle. In 2009 the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources issued an instruction that Chairperson and Directors’ fees be reduced. Prior to this instruction being issued the Chairperson and Directors had already decided to take a voluntary 10% reduction in their fees. Under the approved remuneration levels, the Chairperson’s fees were equivalent to €21,600 per annum during the year (2014: €21,600 per annum). Directors’ fees were equivalent to €12,600 each per annum during the year (2014: €12,600 each per annum).

The only executive Board Member during the year was the Chief Executive, Fintan Slye. The Chief Executive’s remuneration is set by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

The remuneration of the Chief Executive consists of basic salary, taxable benefits and certain retirement benefits. The retirement benefits of the Chief Executive are calculated on basic pay only and aim to provide in retirement a pension of one-eightieth and a gratuity of three-eightieths of salary for each year of service as Chief Executive. The increases in accrued pension and accrued gratuity excluding inflation during the year to 30 September 2015 were €2,125 (2014: €2,125) and €6,375 (2014: €6,375) respectively. The total accrued pension at the end of the year was €16,170 (2014: €14,045) and the total accrued gratuity was €53,660 (2014: €47,285). The transfer value of the relevant increase was €28,541 (2014: €27,141). 

Dividends

In evaluating the annual dividend that the Group may propose the Board considers the following key factors:

  • Available Cash: The Group receives tariff revenues, which are reflected through the Income Statement which fund operational expenses of the Group and capital projects which are capitalised and depreciated over the future periods. This creates a mismatch between available cash and reported profits.
  • Expected adjustment for under/over recovery: Any under or over recovery of costs through tariff revenue is not recognised in the Financial Statements. The dividend policy reflects the expected impacts on future profits of the adjustment for the current year under/over recovery in future tariff rates.
  • Future investments: The Group funds a portion of capital projects through existing resources. The dividend policy considers expected and committed future investments.
  • Liquidity: As noted previously the Group’s principal financial risk is that there is inadequate liquidity in the event of a significant regulatory under recovery. The dividend policy considers the prudent management of this risk.

Having considered these factors the Directors of the Group propose the payment of a final dividend of €3,500,000 (2014: €3,000,000) for the year ended 30 September 2015. 

Directors’ and Secretary’s Interest in Shares

The Directors and Secretary who held office between 1 October 2014 and 30 September 2015 had no beneficial interest in the shares of the Group.

One ordinary share of the Company is held by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the remainder of the issued share capital is held by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, or on his behalf.

John O’Connor, Fintan Slye and Niamh Cahill hold one share each in the share capital of the Company on behalf of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. 

Political Donations

The Group does not make political donations. 

Going Concern

The Financial Statements are prepared on a going concern basis as the Board, after making appropriate enquiries, is satisfied that the Group has adequate resources to continue in operation for the foreseeable future. 

Accounting Records

The measures that the Directors have taken to secure compliance with the requirements of Sections 281 to 285 of the Companies Act 2014 with regard to the keeping of accounting records are the employment of appropriately qualified accounting personnel and the use of suitable accounting systems and procedures. The accounting records are kept at The Oval, 160 Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. 

Post Balance Sheet Events

Details of significant post balance sheet events are set forth in Note 29 of the financial statements. 

Auditors

The auditors, Deloitte, Chartered Accountants and Statutory Audit Firm, have indicated their willingness to continue in office in accordance with Section 383(2) of the Companies Act 2014. 

Disclosure of Information to Auditors

So far as each of the Directors in office at the date of approval of the financial statements is aware:

  • there is no relevant audit information of which the Company’s auditors are unaware; and
  • the Directors have taken all the steps that they ought to have taken as Directors in order to make themselves aware of any relevant audit information and to establish that the Company’s auditors are aware of that information. 

Directors’ Responsibilities Statement

The Directors’ are responsible for preparing the Directors’ Report and the financial statements in accordance with the Companies Act 2014 and the applicable regulations.

Irish company law requires the Directors to prepare financial statements for each financial year. Under the law, the Directors have elected to prepare the financial statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) as adopted by the European Union (“relevant financial reporting framework”). Under company law, the Directors must not approve the financial statements unless they are satisfied that they give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities and financial position of the company as at the financial year end date and of the profit or loss of the company for the financial year and otherwise comply with the Companies Act 2014.

In preparing these financial statements, the Directors are required to:

  • select suitable accounting policies for the Parent Company and the Group financial statements and then apply them consistently;
  • make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent;
  • state whether the financial statements have been prepared in accordance with applicable accounting standards, identify those standards, and note the effect and the reasons for any material departure from those standards; and
  • prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the company will continue in business.

The Directors are responsible for ensuring that the company keeps or causes to be kept adequate accounting records which correctly explain and record the transactions of the company, enable at any time the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss of the company to be determined with reasonable accuracy, enable them to ensure that the financial statements and Directors’ Report comply with the Companies Act 2014 and enable the financial statements to be audited. They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the company and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities. The Directors are responsible for the maintenance and integrity of the corporate and financial information included on the company’s website.

On behalf of the Board: 

16 December 2016

Independent Auditors’ Report to the Members of Eirgrid Plc

We have audited the financial statements of EirGrid Plc for the financial year ended 30 September 2015 which comprise the Group Financial Statements: the Consolidated Income Statement, Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income, the Consolidated Balance Sheet, the Consolidated Statement of Changes in Equity, the Consolidated Cash Flow Statement, and the Parent Company Financial Statements: the Company Statement of Comprehensive Income, the Company Balance Sheet, the Company Statement of Changes in Equity and the Company Cash Flow Statement and the related notes 1 to 30. The relevant financial reporting framework that has been applied in the preparation of the Group and the parent company financial statements is the Companies Act 2014 and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) as adopted by the European Union (“relevant financial reporting framework”).

This report is made solely to the company’s members, as a body, in accordance with Section 391 of the Companies Act 2014. Our audit work has been undertaken so that we might state to the company’s members those matters we are required to state to them in an auditors’ report and for no other purpose. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we do not accept or assume responsibility to anyone other than the company and the company’s members as a body, for our audit work, for this report, or for the opinions we have formed.

Respective Responsibilities of Directors and Auditors

As explained more fully in the Statement of Directors’ Responsibilities, the directors are responsible for the preparation of the financial statements and for being satisfied that they give a true and fair view and otherwise comply with the Companies Act 2014. Our responsibility is to audit and express an opinion on the financial statements in accordance with the Companies Act 2014 and International Standards on Auditing (UK and Ireland). Those standards require us to comply with the Auditing Practices Board’s Ethical Standards for Auditors.

Scope of the Audit of the Financial Statements

An audit involves obtaining evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements sufficient to give reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free from material misstatement, whether caused by fraud or error. This includes an assessment of: whether the accounting policies are appropriate to the Group’s and the parent company’s circumstances and have been consistently applied and adequately disclosed; the reasonableness of significant accounting estimates made by the directors; and the overall presentation of the financial statements. In addition, we read all the financial and non-financial information in the Annual Report for the Financial Year ended 30 September 2015 to identify material inconsistencies with the audited financial statements and to identify any information that is apparently materially incorrect based on, or materially inconsistent with, the knowledge acquired by us in the course of performing the audit. If we become aware of any apparent material misstatements or inconsistencies we consider the implications for our report.

Opinion on Financial Statements

In our opinion:

  • the Group and parent company financial statements give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities and financial position of the Group and parent company as at 30 September 2015 and of the profit of the Group for the year then ended; and
  • the Group and parent company financial statements have been properly prepared in accordance with the relevant financial reporting framework and, in particular, with the requirements of the Companies Act 2014.

Matters on which we are required to report by the Companies Act 2014

  • We have obtained all the information and explanations which we consider necessary for the purposes of our audit.
  • In our opinion the accounting records of the parent company were sufficient to permit the financial statements to be readily and properly audited.
  • The parent company statement of financial position is in agreement with the accounting records.
  • In our opinion the information given in the directors’ report is consistent with the financial statements.

Matters on which we are required to report by exception

We have nothing to report in respect of the following:

  • Under the provisions of the Companies Act 2014 we are required to report to you if, in our opinion the disclosures of directors’ remuneration and transactions specified by law are not made.
  • Under the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies (“the Code”), we are required to report to you if the statement regarding the system of internal financial control required under the Code as included in the Directors’ Report does not reflect the Group’s compliance with paragraph 13.1(iii) of the Code or if it is not consistent with the information of which we are aware from our audit work on the financial statements. 

Glenn Gillard
For and on behalf of Deloitte
Chartered Accountants and Statutory Audit Firm Dublin

16 December 2015