Decision Nº M/08/028 from Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, 2008-09-25

Decision NumberM/08/028
PartiesSystems Operator Northern Ireland Limited (SONI),EirGrid plc (EirGrid)
StatusCleared (Phase 1)
Merger Notification No. M/08/028 – EirGrid/SONI
Section 21 of the Competition Act 2002
Proposed acquisition by EirGrid plc of SONI Limited (System Operator
for Northern Ireland Limited).
Dated 25/09/2008
1. On 10 September 2008, the Competition Authority (the “Authority”), in
accordance with section 18(1)(a) of the Competition Act, 2002 (“the
Act”) was notified, on a mandatory basis, of a proposed acquisition by
EirGrid plc (“EirGrid”) of the entire issued share capital of SONI Limited
(System Operator for Northern Ireland Limited) (“SONI”). The
proposed transaction involves the acquisition of sole c ontrol by EirGrid
of SONI.
The Undertakings Involved
The Acquirer: EirGrid
2. EirGrid, formed in 2001, is the independent licensed electricity
Transmission System Operator (“TSO”) and the licensed Market
Operator (“MO”) in the State. EirGrid has held the TSO licence since
2006, and the MO licence since the Single Electricity Market (“SEM”)
was established on the island of Ireland in 2007. EirG rid is a publicly
limited company and is wholly-owned by the I rish State.
3. EirGrid’s role as licensed TSO is ind ependently to provide services to all
users of the State’s electricity system, including all generators,
suppliers and high voltage customers. It does this by facilitating the
development, maintenance and operat ion of the transmission system.
EirGrid, as TSO , is prohibited under the Elect ricity Regulation Act 1999
from engaging in the generation, distrib ution or supply of electricit y in
the State.
4. In addition to its TSO role, EirGrid is the licensed MO in the State
which toget her with SONI operates th e SEM. EirGrid is ful ly regulated
and its activities are overseen by the Commission for Ene rgy
Regulation (“CER”). In acc ordance with the regulatory requirements in
both the State and Northern Ireland, EirGrid exercises its MO function
on an all-island basis through an unincorporated contractual joint
venture with SONI, known as the Single Electricity Market Operator
(“SEMO”). Since its inception in November 2007, SEMO has b een
responsible for operating the all-island wholesale ma rket for electricity,
or SEM. Ei rGrid and SONI each hold separate MO licences but SEMO is
jointly regulated on a cooperative basis in both jurisdictions b y CER
and the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation (“NIAUR”).

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