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Energy Act (Northern Ireland) 2011


The Act is divided into three parts, containing thirty-seven sections and one schedule.

In summary, Part 1 of the Act (sections 1 to 16) relates specifically to the gas industry, Part 2 (sections 17 to 33) relates to both the gas and electricity industries and Part 3 (sections 34 to 37) contains supplementary provisions.

Sections 1 to 8 of the Act provide gas customers in Northern Ireland with an enhanced level of consumer protection, primarily by empowering the Utility Regulator and the Department to determine standards of performance in connection with the activities of those companies that convey (transport) gas and those companies that supply it to end-users.

Section 9 of the Act makes certain amendments to the Energy (Northern Ireland) Order 2003.  These amendments are consequential to the new provisions on standards of performance.

Sections 10 to 16 concern miscellaneous provisions relating to gas.  Section 10 establishes a criminal offence in respect of persons who intentionally or recklessly damage or allow to be damaged gas equipment used for conveying, storing or supply gas; it also allows gas companies to disconnect premises and/or remove gas meters where the offence is committed.  Section 11 exempts gas plant owned by gas companies from certain legal processes, e.g. where a customer in possession of that gas plant is subject to judgment or bankruptcy processes.  Sections 12 and 13 create a regime to provide for deemed contracts to arise in situations where customers take a supply of gas without having first agreed a supply contract with a supplier.  Section 14 extends gas companies existing powers of entry to customer premises.  Section 15 clarifies the meaning of gas storage for the purposes of the Gas Order.  Section 16 amends the Gas Order so that the Utility Regulator does not have to appoint meter examiners from members of its staff.

Part 2 of the Act creates a special administration regime for licensed energy network companies.  Where a gas conveyance or an electricity transmission or distribution company faces actual or threatened insolvency, the new regime will seek to ensure the continuance of the operation of the relevant network.

Part 3 of the Act contains supplementary provisions concerning regulations made under the Act, and the interpretation, commencement and title of the Act.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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