COVID-19: An update from the SEM Committee on wholesale market issues

12 May 2020

Over the last number of weeks, the Utility Regulator and CRU (the Regulatory Authorities, RAs) and the Single Electricity Market Committee (SEM Committee) have continued working to protect consumers during the COVID-19 health emergency.  We continue to meet and engage with stakeholders and take decisions in the interests of the all-island consumer.

Our first priority has been to ensure security of electricity supply for consumers.  We have worked with SEMO and relevant market participants to ensure that effective business continuity arrangements are in place and that generators, interconnectors and markets continue to operate securely and effectively.

The SEM Committee, working with the TSOs, has progressed the T-4 Capacity Auctions, enabling generators to compete to meet demand in 2023/4.

We are working with SEMO and the TSOs to assess the short and long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the all-island market and customers.  This includes an assessment of the impact of any changes to the schedule for generator maintenance outages. 

The RAs’ Market Monitoring Unit is carrying out a weekly review of trading patterns in the SEM Day-Ahead, Intraday and Balancing Markets and reporting results on demand patterns to the RAs. 

An urgent modification was raised and approved at the most recent Trading and Settlement Code Modifications Committee to introduce RA approval for the issuing of credit-related suspension orders where previously there was none, for a temporary period during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The RAs have continued to engage with market participants and stakeholders on issues relating to the operation of the SEM.  We are also working with colleagues in our Retail Teams and SEMO to assess how issues affecting suppliers and consumers are being dealt with. 

The RAs continue to provide regular updates on their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic including responses to specific jurisdictional issues.  Market participants should continue to keep up to date with latest published information available on both the UR and CRU websites.