The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources retains responsibility for the licensing and regulation of offshore exploration while responsibility covers the Irish gas network and the supply of gas to end customers.
Because Ireland has few natural gas resources, most of the gas consumed in Ireland is bought on the international gas markets and imported to Ireland through the natural gas network, or specifically through interconnection with the UK. As a result, Irish customers are exposed to fluctuations in international gas price and neither the CER nor the gas suppliers have direct control of this part of the value chain.
The CER is responsible for the regulation of the Irish gas network and the supply or retail market. Bord Gáis Éireann owns the gas network in Ireland while Gaslink, an independent subsiduary, operates the network. The CER regulates revenues recovered and network tariffs charged by the network operator and owner. We aim to make sure that the network in place meets the needs of the Irish gas customer at a reasonable and efficient cost.
Large customers may connect to the network and purchase gas on the international markets directly. Most large customers such as power stations do this already. The majority of small customers, including residential customers, are still supplied by Bord Gais Energy. Full market liberalisation took place on 1st July 2007 following the implementation of the necessary legislation.
There are a number of licensed suppliers in the market now competing at all levels in the market but have to date mainly concentrated on the large customer end of the market. The CER continues to regulate the end user prices charged by Bord Gas Energy to small and medium sized customers so as to ensure customers receive value for money and efficient services. More information on the gas market is available here
The pages below give more information on the detailed work of the CER in the natural gas sector.