Quinn threatens to sue NIE

Sean Quinn, who controls the Quinn Group, is seeking GBP 10 million from Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) to cover the cost of a power line he had to construct for his Quinn Glass and Quinn Cement p…

Sean Quinn, who controls the Quinn Group, is seeking GBP 10 million from Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) to cover the cost of a power line he had to construct for his Quinn Glass and Quinn Cement plants in south Fermanagh, Ireland. Quinn claims he had to construct the high-grade line in 2008 due to power failures at his plants, and that the money is recoverable from NIE as per the rules of the single electricity market (SEM). “We believe we are entitled to this money and we hope the NIE agrees with us,” said Kevin Lunney, development director of the Quinn Group. “We are keeping the option of legal action in reserve.” Quinn applied to NIE for the money in 2008 but was refused on the basis that the Quinn Group was too large to qualify for a repayment under SEM rules, a decision that was upheld in December 2008. Quinn has resubmitted two separate applications to NIE for Quinn Glass and Quinn Cement, and a decision on them is expected very shortly. At a meeting with local councillors in July, Quinn said: “We have no choice [but to launch legal action]. We“re not big into the legal stuff. We just get on with our job.” He said his company had paid GBP 600,000 to NIE in 1986 for a previous power line. Obliging him to fund the cost of an upgraded line 20 years later was similar to “making me pay twice”, he added. “We were up and down to Belfast [to complain to NIE about the power failures on the old line]. We were told by NIE they were getting it repaired,” said Quinn. Lunney said the company would be taking legal action if the new applications were also refused. NIE said: “The regulator has decided that NIE has charged correctly for the upgrading of the Quinn Group connection. NIE is obliged to comply with the regulator“s decision.”