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Mayo newspaper says contractors acting for Shell stole electricity

WED 18th Feb 2009
MAYO ECHO 

Who’s Been Stealing the Fishermen’s Electricity?

Those good folks at Shell have made great attempts at becoming good neighbours down Belmullet way. Splashing out on local grants to community groups, and scholarships for local students, the intention is to undue [sic] some of the damage that was done to their reputation during the lengthy Rossport 5 dispute, and prepare for the laying of a high-pressure gas pipeline later this year.

Local fishermen in the area weren’t too impressed to leam that someone had illegally tapped into an electricity supply at Ballyglass Pier, north of Belmullet. The electricity had been provided by Board lascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Irish Sea Fisheries Board so that a refrigerated container was on hand for fishing boats to keep their catch cool, until delivery could be organised.

The bill would usually run to €300 per quarter, but management were astounded to get a recent bill for €5,880. Questions were asked, and local fishermen were concerned that the service would be withdrawn given the much-increased cost.

On further investigation at Ballyglass, it was discovered that someone had illegally tapped into the supply, running a cable underground from the ESB meter at the pier. It has since been established that contractors acting on behalf of Shell had connected the cable without permission, and had stolen the electricity for the past nine months.

A BIM representative contacted Shell, who immediately offered to reimburse BIM for the total bill. Red-faced Shell management claimed that they had agreed to cover the cost of all electricity usage on the pier, but they didn’t say whom they had agreed this with. A BIM spokesperson stated that Shell had agreed no such arrangement with them.

The Mayo Echo also understands that a complaint has been lodged with local Gardai, although it isn’t known if Shell will be prosecuted for the theft. BIM confirmed that following a meeting with Shell, the service should remain in place for the foreseeable future, much to the relief of local fishermen. BIM are currently carrying out a safety audit of the electricity supply, to ensure there is no risk to local users of the supply following the illegal connection.

http://www.mayoecho.com/

http://www.mayoecho.com/this%20weeks%20edition/pdfs/MAYO08.pdf (page from current issue) 

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