Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment

ESB Networks: Discussion (Resumed)

Mr. Seamus O'Loughlin:

No. When I brought these issues to the Minister I expected that there would be tick-tacking back and forth and that I would be asked to validate what I was sending in. I sent them in and I had to sit on my hands after that. Financially, it has been a challenge to sustain this process. I am quoting legislation and UK figures. There are many clever people in ESB at the other side of the table pushing back on what I am saying but the figures speak for themselves. In the submission to the regulator we continually say why we need to do this work and that it is environmentally damaging. On the other hand, we are saying that the cable fluid is biodegradable. The stuff being displaced is not biodegradable. Anecdotally, I heard we used C4 until the 1960s or 1970s. That is particularly damaging if one looks at the safety data sheet.

It would be great if we could report in our sustainability report on the fluid-filled cable leakage and the SF6 gas. That would represent a real cultural shift. I have absolutely no doubt that ESB Networks will come out of this a more resilient company. Our staff will have a better chance of getting home safe and sound.