IT IS not looking like a great year for energy safety expert Denis Higgins, who is a director of two separate regulatory bodies that lost out on state contracts courtesy of environment and climate minister Eamon Ryan’s Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU). This latter body is currently chaired by Jim Gaffney (ex-Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland).
Higgins is a central player in two entities – The Register of Gas Installers of Ireland Company (RGII) and The Register of Electrical Contractors of Ireland (RECI), which operate from the same D12 premises and trade with each other.
From 2008, RGII held the contract as the gas safety supervisory body here, operating the Registered Gas Installer (RGI) website on behalf of the CRU. It was reappointed with a new seven-year contract that kicked off on January 1, 2016. Under the terms of the agreement with CRU, the company had to operate on a not-for-profit basis, which means that any surplus that arises cannot be distributed to members.
On July 19 last year, Denis Higgins and his fellow directors were notified that RGII’s submission for a further seven-year contract had been unsuccessful, with the (ultimately) Swiss-owned Safe Energy Ireland, fronted here by Eugene Kirwan and number-cruncher Fintan Connolly, getting the gig instead.
As a result, RGII had to transfer all “relevant assets” to the new outfit “in consideration of a payment of €1” and so largely ceased to trade at the start of 2023.
According to RGII’s 2021 accounts, which were only signed off in June this year, the directors’ intention was “to finalise the dissolution of the company in due course” and legal firm Addleshaw Goddard (Ireland) has now petitioned for the winding up of RGII next month.
Denis Higgins also got a second piece of bad news on July 19, 2022, when the RECI board was informed that its regulatory contract was not being renewed and was, instead, being awarded by CRU once again to Safe Energy Ireland.
Once again, it was noted in RECI’s accounts that relevant assets would be transferred for €1 and that the directors had made the decision to dissolve the company. Addleshaw Goddard has now petitioned for the winding up of RECI too.
In the case of RGII, the 2021 figures show turnover that year of just on €2m but accumulated profits have since been wiped out as a result of an impairment charge of €94,000 and a restructuring provision of €550,000, both based on the failure to retain the CRU contract.
RECI, the bigger of the two entities and the holder of the company property, recorded a turnover of over €3m in 2021 and delivered a surplus of €90,000.
Once again, there was a restructuring provision (€440,000) as a result of losing the CRU contract.
It’s back to the drawing board for Denis and his pals.