At a time when gas and electricity prices are going up at record rates, people in Ireland are being warned that there could be major problems and even

power outages this winter. We shouldn't mix up the two issues. The war in Ukraine has a direct effect on the price of energy, but the real threat to the

country's power supply comes from closer to home. Ireland's independent energy and water regulator is the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).

One of the things it is required to do by law is to promote the reliability, safety, and quality of electricity supplies.

In the first place, that body is in charge of making sure the country has enough electricity. There are other parts to the disaster that is coming to the energy supply.

For example, EirGrid, which is owned by the government and regulated by the CRU, is a company that moves electricity from one place to another.

Its main jobs are to run the wholesale power market and take care of the national grid on a daily basis. It is also in charge of keeping the amount of electricity used and made in balance.

In the end, though, it's the government's job to make sure the lights stay on. Last week, it said that it didn't understand the CRU's warnings

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that if there were worries about energy security, he would have expected an early warning system to be in place. In a time-

honored way, the government said it would look into how electricity is supplied. In fact, the job was given to a former secretary general in the Taoiseach's department.

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