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I-SEM delayed to October to address IT system concerns

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The ‘go-live’ date of Ireland’s integrated electricity market is to be delayed until October following concerns that the central and market IT systems needed to successfully operate the new system would not be in place.

The Single Electricity Market Committee (SEMC), the decision-making body behind the introduction of the Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM), announced this week the revised date of 1 October, instead of the planned 23 May 2018.

The I-SEM is a new wholesale electricity market arrangement for Ireland and Northern Ireland designed to integrate the all-island electricity market with European electricity markets, enabling the free flow of energy across borders.

The decision was made after SEMC took the advice of market participants including the two transmission system operators of the island of Ireland – Eirgrid and SONI – that IT system issues were to blame.

Feedback suggested that for both TSOs, central IT systems and the need to allow adequate testing of market participants IT systems required a later date to be implemented.

“While the SEMC considers it important that the market is launched as soon as possible, particularly as all other components of the ISEM project are ready, it takes the views of stakeholders on market and system preparedness seriously,” the SEMC said in a statement.

“The SEMC also accepts that the TSO’s assessment of system readiness before go-live is critical to the project’s success.

“This additional period is seen as essential to allow for residual IT system issues to be resolved and for a longer period of market testing and trialling that will ensure the arrangements for the ISEM go-live are effective.”

This follows an indication from SEMC last month that the ISEM market go-live date of 23 May 2018 was “at risk” due to ongoing issues with the central IT systems.

A joint statement quoting Rodney Doyle, EirGrid group director of market operations, and Robin McCormick, SONI general manager, said: “The decision to postpone the launch date of the new market is prudent as it will facilitate the completion of final testing of the core ISEM software. It will also allow market participants to ensure that their IT systems are ready.

“In March the ISEM programme office reported to the SEM Committee that there continues to be a number of key IT defects that need to be resolved by third party vendors in the run-up to market go live.”

Both TSOs and SEMC acknowledged the “significant” work put in by all market participants supporting the introduction of the I-SEM so far and pledged to address their concerns before the new go-live date.

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