So hands up, where was Moses when the lights went out? Well, of course he was groping in the dark. Irish people of a certain age will remember this creaky old one from the 1970s to early 1990s.
periodic blackouts recurred until we had a longer term solution to industrial action and ended mass strikes in this world-within-a-world called the Electricity Supply Board. We’re afraid we’ll see a repeat of these macabre and silly jokes soon.
In this coming winter, among a host of other challenges, we face the prospect of joining Moses and others before and after him in the darkness. Overall, there are serious doubts about our chances of having enough power to get through until next spring.
The additional problem now is that, unlike in previous decades, electricity is linked to many other basic services. It is essential to life in the modern world due to its interconnectedness with things like internet services, gas and oil boilers, and other essentials.
Despite the Taoiseach’s claims that the government was caught off guard by this impending energy supply crisis for the coming winter, this problem has been well pointed out by many taxpayer-paid experts for a very long time. Things were definitely made worse by Moscow’s arming of its oil and particularly gas supplies to the western world as part of its dastardly invasion of Ukraine.
But this problem goes much deeper, affecting Irish governments of all stripes and their reluctance to face longer-term energy planning problems for many decades to come. Now, suddenly, we have reached a point where we need to deal with this difficulty head-on, and we need both a wise mix of short-term solutions and longer-term planning.
The fear of the lights going out this winter is very real, as is the associated challenge of the ongoing energy price spiral. This is a reality, although Eamon Ryan, the Secretary of State for Energy Affairs, is hopeful that nothing like this will happen.
Tomorrow, Mr. Ryan will stand before the Energy and Climate Change Committee of TDs and Senators alongside senior regulators.
There are disagreements between the regulator responsible for energy issues, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), and the state’s grid manager, Eirgrid – who is expected to join the minister at this hearing -.
Opposition TDs and Senators who have been pushing for this event will focus on these differences in the officials’ and minister’s views on what may lie ahead for us in the coming winter.
The event has the potential to elicit much valuable information – provided opposition politicians avoid partisan point-scoring and showboating.
A recent CRU paper offers a worrying outlook for energy supplies this winter, and evidence that ministers are somehow surprised is unconvincing. But this issue goes beyond party politics and needs to be addressed as such.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/high-time-for-parties-to-stop-energy-crisis-point-scoring-41943334.html High time for parties to stop collecting points in the energy crisis