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Insight into conflicts and arbitrations at ESBI

Conflicts and Arbitrations is the name of a team of ESBI staff in Asset Management, under Manager Mike Fitzgerald. The team dedicates its time to solving a myriad of issues impacting on the overhead transmission system. It is a busy operation with the team handling issues revolving around:

  • Liaising on behalf of ESB Networks on design issues for proposed developments that may impact on the overhead transmission system.
  • Advising on minimum clearances for housing, industrial and infrastructural developments.
  • Preparing planning applications for alterations and diversions.
  • Carrying out Electro- Magnetic Field studies for residential and commercial developments.
  • Designing line alterations and diversions for infrastructure and development projects.
  • Entering into negotiations with house, landowners and developers.
  • Working with ESB Networks staff to ensure conflicts are reported and resolved as soon as possible.
What is it like to work in conflicts and arbitrations?
John Higgins, Manager of the team says, "You have to be a diplomat and negotiator. You need to be sympathetic, yet have the tenacity to pull out all the stops. Above all else you need to remain cool under fire."

The team are also involved in developing standards. Robert Arthur, for instance, is involved in a CENELEC working group on 'Occupational Electro Magnetic Field exposure in electrical utilities in the European Union'.

Aside from the personal qualities, you also need to have a range of technical experience. "We're a team of seven, with a young age profile. Yet, we have over 70 years combined experience in the areas of industrial, mechanical and electrical engineering," commented John.

The history
The team has a long history of problem resolution. Over its life it welcomed some now familiar ESBI names. Set up by Brian Cronly, Senior Project Manager, International Key Accounts in the early 90s, the team has seen colleagues like Cathal O'Luain, Overhead Line Design Engineering Manager, John Gartland, Senior Project Manager, International Key Accounts, Joe McEnri, Senior Consultant, EirGrid Asset Management, Oisin Armstrong, Consultant, Overhead Line Design, Andrew O'Connell,Consultant ESB Networks Key Account and Seamus Kennedy, Technologist, ESB Networks Team 2. Peadar DeHora, who has recently moved to ESB Networks defined the team for many years and was the longest serving member.

The future
By all accounts, life is busy in the Conflicts and Arbitrations team and the busy pace is set to continue. "We're handling over 100 queries a month," commented John Higgins. "Some issues can be resolved in an hour, while others could take a lot longer. Our continued success will be based on establishing and building close relations with all parties, especially ESB Networks.

I would invite any ESB technician or engineering officer to get in touch to report issues or queries. After all we're here to help!"

Issues can be reported by email to hvconflictsolutions@esbi.ie.

  A photo of the Conflicts and Arbitration Team (l-r) Des O'Regan, Ashling Tuite, John Higgins, Robert Arthur, Noel Farrell, Olivia McCrossan and Gary Southern.
Pictured: The Conflicts and Arbitration Team (l-r) Des O'Regan, Ashling Tuite, John Higgins, Robert Arthur, Noel Farrell, Olivia McCrossan and Gary Southern.
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