The Equality Tribunal
EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY ACTS 1998 - 2008
DECISION NO. DEC-E2011-060
(Represented by Mary Honan B.L. instructed by the Equality Authority)
ESB National Grid/EirGrid
(Represented by Frances Meenan B.L.)
File reference: EE/2007/424
Date of issue: 23 March 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preliminary Issues 3
Summary of Respondent's Case 5
Summary of Complainant's Case 9
Findings & Conclusions of the Equality Officer 11
Appendix 1 - Respondent's Job Descriptions for Complainant and Comparator
Appendix 2 - Complainant's Job Descriptions for Complainant and Comparator
Headnotes: Employment Equality Acts, 1998-2004 - sections 6 and 19 - equal pay - gender - like work
This dispute involves a claim by Ms Ellen Thorsch that she performs "like work", in terms of section 7 of the Employment Equality Acts with a named male comparator and is therefore entitled to the same rate of remuneration paid by the respondent to the comparator in accordance with section 19(1) of the Acts. The respondent rejects the complainant's assertion that she performs "like work" with the named comparator and notwithstanding this argument it submits that there are grounds unconnected with gender which render the rates of remuneration paid to the complainant and comparators lawful in terms of section 19(5) of the Acts.
2.1 The complainant submits that she performs "like work" in terms of sections 7(1) of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998 and 2004 with a named male comparator and she is therefore entitled to the same rate of remuneration as paid by the respondent to the named comparator. She referred a complaint under the Employment Equality Acts, 1998 and 2004 to the Equality Tribunal on 15 August 2007. On 28 May 2009 in accordance with her powers under the Acts the Director delegated the complaint to the undersigned, Hugh Lonsdale, Equality Officer, for investigation and decision and for the exercise of other relevant functions under Part VII of the Acts, on which date my investigation commenced. Two Preliminary Hearings took place on 29 September 2009 and 2 February 2010. As like was disputed by the respondent work inspections took place on June 2010 and a substantive hearing of the claim took place on 7 July 2010.
3. PRELIMINARY ISSUES
3.1 At the preliminary hearings the respondent raised a number of preliminary issues which I will consider first
3.2 The respondent submitted that the complainant had not brought her claim against the correct employer. She named ESB National Grid/EirGrid as the respondent but this was formerly a department or section within the ESB and is not a legal entity. At all material times she worked for the ESB. The respondent quoted Section 2 of the Acts which defines an employer as: "the person with whom the employee has entered into or for whom the employee works under ...... a contract of employment". I note that the complainant filled in the EE1 complainant form with the employer name that was on her initial contract. Clearly she acted in good faith when she used the name that was given to her by her employer.
3.3 The respondent further submitted that when the complainant accepted a voluntary severance package on 28 April 2006 and left their employment on 31 August 2006 she is estopped from claiming under the Employment Equality Acts as this was in full settlement of all matters on termination of her employment. Having reviewed the documentation submitted by the respondent I can find no reference to it being in full and final settlement of all claims and I find nothing in it which can be so interpreted. Furthermore there is no provision in the Employment Equality Acts which prevents me from investigating the matter because the complainant accepted a voluntary severance package.
3.4 The respondent further submitted that the complainant took a similar claim through the internal procedures of the ESB and that the final stage of these procedures, an investigation by the ESB Joint Industrial Council, provided "final offer adjudication". Therefore they contended that having received an adjudication from the Joint Industrial Council the complainant was estopped from making a claim under the Employment Equality Acts. The Joint Industrial Council adjudication might be binding in terms of the respondent's internal procedures (and it should be remembered that the complainant did not accept its' findings) but it cannot take away the complainant's statutory rights to make a complaint under the Employment Equality Acts.
3.5 The respondent further submitted that the complainant and the named comparator did not work for the "same or an associated employer", as required by section 19 (1) of the Acts. They contended that the complainant worked for the ESB and was on their terms and conditions of employment from 16 March 2001 until she left on 31 August 2006. The named comparator, Liam Ryan, started work on 24 January 2003 with EirGrid and was on separate terms and conditions of employment. These are separate legal entities and are not associated within the meaning of the Acts. Having investigated the claim I have looked at the history of the two organisations and of the operation of the transmission system for electricity. Initially all supply and transmission of electricity was carried out by the ESB. Then EU Directive 96/92/EC required that the transmission of electricity should be carried out by a body separate from the bodies that generate electricity. When this Directive was transposed into Irish law the Regulations provided for the establishment of a transmission system operator, EirGrid plc. The work was carried out through interim arrangements until EirGrid was granted a licence, effective from 1 July 2006. At which point all staff were employed by EirGrid on their terms and conditions of employment. The complainant and the comparator were employed at different times within the interim arrangements but they both worked in the same Department and from the time the comparator started work until the complainant left they both worked in Codes and Agreements section of the Regulation and Pricing Department. SI 445 of 2000 stated "the Board (ESB) shall make available to the National Grid Business Unit such resources (resources shall include resources relating to personnel, equipment, premises and financing) as are necessary for the National Grid Business Unit to discharge its functions, until such time as the transfer scheme ..... have been made." I take this to include both the complainant and the comparator and find that they both worked for the same employer, the ESB, until 1 July 2006.
4. SUMMARY OF THE RESPONDENT'S CASE
4.1 The respondent disputes that the complainant and comparator were carrying out work of equal value. They were recruited in very different competitions to carry out different tasks and duties that require significantly different qualifications and training. The respondent submitted job descriptions for both posts and these are at Appendix 1.
4.2 The complainant was recruited with five others from an RDS "Job Fair" as a Regulatory Analyst in the Regulation and Pricing (R&P) Department and started work in April 2001. Starting salaries were individually negotiated based on the person's qualifications, experience and the market forces for the particular role. The complainant was offered a salary above that of the other Regulatory Analysts recruited at that time. Her starting salary was €38,093 and by 2005 had progressed to €52,031 and rose to €54,528 in 2006.
4.3 The respondent submits that the complainant's main duties were:
- Transmission Use of System (TUoS) Agreements; these were the complainant's main area of responsibility and her work involved development of the agreement document, negotiations with customers and ongoing management of the agreements,
- Demand Customers Agreements and Associated Offer Letters; the complainant was responsible for preparing and issuing offer letters for demand customers,
- Research and Legal Support; the complainant's duties included research and legal comment on connection and use-of-system agreements, new regulations/directions etc. subject to the approval of the company lawyer. The complainant provided support within the team, for example, when a new direction was issued by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), it had to be understood how that direction would impact on business processes and procedures in place at that time. The complainant was responsible for researching and escalating issues as/if necessary to the manager. As ESB National Grid was a regulated business, and given the newness of the department, all modification requests by a market participant (customers) or new directions and instructions issued by the CER required consideration and time spent interpreting the consequences for the department. The complainant was not responsible for formally approving, setting direction or making decisions on legal matters. The company lawyer holds responsibility for legal approval in all areas in the company,
- Developed Process and Procedures for the Effective Management of Contracts; an example of this is the procedure developed by the complainant for managing amendments to the CER (Regulated) Connection Agreement Templates, and
- General research on points raised under certain EU Directives; the complainant conducted general research as and when necessary particularly in relation to the new internal market in electricity Regulations
4.4 In terms of responsibility all legal contracts, such as TUoS Agreements, would have to be signed off by the relevant manager, the company lawyer and the financial controller. Also the complainant was not involved in legal disputes. When these arose she passed the relevant documentation over to the company lawyer.
4.5 The R&P Department grew and by the end of 2001 had twenty staff who were organised into 4 sections and the complainant worked in the Codes and Agreements section, which was responsible for the development, provision and ongoing management of Connection Agreements, Use-of-System Agreements and other relevant transmission agreements for Generators, Demand Customers and Suppliers. It was also responsible for the management of the Grid Code including lead liaison with the Grid Code Review Panel, code development and review with the Panel, and management of code change and derogation requests. Two very experienced engineers had moved out of the section and other engineers had moved into management positions. This left the section with a deficit of engineering skills and in order to resolve this they advertised for a Senior Professional Engineer to work in the Codes & Agreements Section. The comparator was successful in this competition and commenced employment with the respondent on 3 March 2003 as a Senior Engineer at a salary of €55,000. This had risen to €62,231 in 2005 and was increased to €66,709 in 2006. The comparator was highly qualified with primary, masters and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering and had a significant amount of research and business experience in leading engineering projects when he was recruited.
4.6 The comparator was initially allocated work:
- which enabled him to gain experience of the ESB National Grid business through involvement in the offer process (this work afforded him the opportunity to interface with many departments within the Grid),
- to assist the team in dealing with an unprecedented number of generator applications,
- to roll out the newly developed offer process and embed the required culture of delivery across the organisation to ensure consistent delivery against the CER's stipulated 70 day timeline, and
- assist the Manager in providing mentoring and guidance to regulatory analysts and more junior engineers in the section.
4.7 When the comparator had worked for approximately 9-12 months in the section gaining experience his tasks became more in line with those he had been employed to do and he managed projects involving a high level of technical/engineering input. The complainant's and the comparator's role became very divergent.
4.8 The comparator worked on a number of key technical projects and the following are the main examples:
- lead on the "contestability of connection assets framework" project; the comparator was charged with the production of the first such framework. It sets out the high level technical guidelines for equipment and assets which can be built directly by applicants who have requested connection to the high voltage electricity network,
- lead on the Distribution System Operator (DSO) connection agreement project; the comparator had responsibility for negotiating a connection agreement with ESB Networks for all of DSO connections to the transmission system. This included leading very technical discussions e.g. operational boundaries and import capacity levels.
- Combined Cycle Gas Turbine - Research Project; comparator researched evolving technologies in order to provide information on future performance characteristics.
- Grid Code Rules; the comparator was responsible for updating the proposed new technical rules for wind generation. He was charged with managing a project to assess generator compliance with the Grid Code.
- high level visibility with stakeholders; the comparator presented at ESB National Grid annual conference to a number of significant external industry stakeholders. He represented EirGrid at conferences and seminars where the ability to engage on technical issues was vital.
4.9 The complainant and the comparator had different roles in the three types of agreements;
- Generator Connection Agreements and associated offer letters; this was led by the comparator for a short period soon after he joined. As well as the normal commercial clauses these agreements have significant technical content. The comparator also led negotiations into Connection Agreements for ESB Power Generation stations which were very technical. The agreements are underpinned by the Grid Code and the comparator had a key role in the development and management of the Grid Code. Whilst the complainant's legal background is acknowledged and was useful in her role as a Regulatory Analyst the work she was involved in was mainly of a business/administrative/analytical nature.
- TUoS Agreements; this was the complainant's main area of responsibility. They follow the formative standard commercial agreements and concentrate on such issues as warranties, calculations in payment of charges, terms and termination details and confidentiality. They have a minimal engineering input. Any significant changes were subject to senior manager and company lawyer approval.
- Demand Customer Agreements and associated offer letters; the complainant had responsibility for issuing letters of intent to all demand customers who sought an increase in their maximum import capacity and offer letters for demand customers. These offers were mainly to existing customers who required relatively simple changes to their contract terms.
4.10 The respondent contends that the complainant and the comparator were not doing work of equal value and makes the following submissions in relation to the areas included in section 7(1)(c) of the Acts:
o The complainant was mainly involved in work of a business and analytical nature. Attention to detail, a disciplined approach and good quality work were important in her role. She provided legal support but not in a formal legal sense. Whilst she has a law degree she did not have the professional training to practice as a lawyer and was not recruited in a legal capacity
o The comparator is qualified both academically and professionally to carry out the more technically involved and complex matters that he was recruited to work on. His academic, professional, commercial and business skills are more valuable to the respondent.
o The respondent submits that the comparator's duties required a higher level of skill than those undertaken by the complainant.
- Mental Requirements
o The comparator had significant mental requirements for his position compared with the role of the Regulatory Analyst. He had a significant interaction with all major customers and senior level staff ar CER. He was also responsible for a considerable amount of analysis of the technical/engineering aspects of the various agreements and technology connecting to the Grid.
o The complainant had a reasonable amount of 'mental requirement' as she was co-ordinating and managing documentation as a Regulatory Analyst
o The respondent submits that the comparator had a far higher degree of responsibility in respect of his work than that performed by the complainant. He led technical projects, he coordinated cross functional work activities, he led negotiations on technical matters with highly experienced engineers from other companies, he dealt with the CER on complex technical matters.
o The respondent submits that given this level of responsibility the comparator is not a suitable comparator and her actual comparators are the other Regulatory Analysts.
- Working Conditions
o The respondent submits that the working conditions of the complainant and the comparator were similar.
4.11 The respondent submits that there is no evidence of discrimination in respect of the differences in remuneration. The rates of pay were assessed on an individual basis in respect of the work, skills and qualifications of the complainant and the comparator. These were entirely objective factors unrelated to any alleged discrimination on the ground of gender.
5. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINANT'S CASE
5.1 The complainant was appointed to the position of Regulatory Analyst with the respondent on 6 April 2001. She is claiming the she performed work of equal value with the comparator who was appointed as a Senior Engineer on 3 March 2003 until she left on 31 August 2006. The comparator was paid about €11,000 per annum less than the complainant.
5.2 The complainant did not receive a job description until after she had raised the issue of equal pay with the respondent. The complainant submits that the job description provided by the respondent is prejudicial to her work as it is consistently described as 'administrative' support while the comparator is described in terms of 'managing' and taking a more dynamic and responsible role. The complainant submits that this divergence is utterly at odds with the facts. The job descriptions for both posts submitted by complainant as part of this investigation are attached at Appendix 2
5.3 The complainant submits that the tasks performed by her and the comparator were the same or similar in many respects. There were also tasks which both performed exclusively and appear to be significant aspects of the work each performed which indicate that the comparison under section 7(1)(c) of the Acts falls within the area of work of 'equal value'
5.4 The complainant submits that the tasks she performed exclusively were;
- legal research,
- designing template agreements,
- designing databases,
- developing agreements, and
- management of TUoS Agreements
The main difference is that the complainant had responsibility for management of the TUoS Agreements, which involved work of a legal and financial nature, involving research, drafting and management/administration. Also the TUoS work was the main source of revenue of EirGrid. The comparator had no involvement in TUoS Agreements but he worked on the Grid Code, an area in which the complainant had little involvement. The complainant submits that others had more responsibility for the Grid Code work than the comparator; whose work appears to have involved research, analysis, consultation and administering Code changes. Other tasks performed exclusively by the comparator included;
- advised customers of obligations of Connection Agreement,
- assisted in the development of an Internal Offer Process Procedure,
- proposed amendments to Connection Agreement
- drafted a Code of Practice/Key Principles document.
The nature of these tasks were similar to those performed by the complainant; i.e. research, review, analysis and drafting. Also they both reported to the same line manager.
5.5 The complainant makes the following submission in relation to the areas in section 7(1)(c) of the Acts;
- Physical Requirements and Working Conditions
o the complainant submits that these areas are the same for both the complainant and the comparator
- Skill and Mental Requirements
o the complainant submits that the academic qualifications and experience of the complainant and the comparator are of equal value and provide both with capacity regarding the relevant work in the Codes & Agreements Section. The complainant submits that her qualifications and experience are even more relevant given the primary role of the section relates to drafting, reviewing and operating of legal agreements with system users.
o the complainant submits that the respondent describes the jobs of the complainant and comparator in contrasting terms regarding their responsibility. The complainant's job is described as research/administration which is inconsistent with the level of skill, autonomy and decision making implicit in her work. It is inconsistent with the respondent accepting that the complainant had sole responsibility for all aspects of the TUoS Agreements.
o The comparator's job is described as management yet many of the tasks assigned did not indicate any project management or technical complexity.
5.6 The complainant submits that the respondent contends that the significant difference between them is that the comparator was involved in project management and his work was of greater responsibility but the evidence indicates that the work of the complainant was, at least, of equal value. The complainant concludes that the respondent has put forward no reasons other than gender for the difference in pay.
6. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS OF THE EQUALITY OFFICER
6.1 The issue for decision by me is whether or not the complainant performs "like work" with the comparator in terms of section 7(1)(c) of the Acts, in that "the work performed by one is equal in value to the work performed by the other, having regard to such matters as skill, physical or mental requirements, responsibility and working conditions". In reaching my conclusion I have taken into account all of the submissions both written and oral made to me by both parties. Both the respondent and the complainant submitted job descriptions for the complainant and the comparator. I used these to prepare for the work inspections. The work inspections allowed me to assess the work undertaken by the complainant and the comparator and at the substantive hearing I finished my investigation.
6.2 The complainant was recruited as a Regulatory Analyst in April 2001. She was the second highest paid of the Regulatory Analysts, which reflected her qualifications and experience. It is clear that some of the work she carried out was allocated to her because of her legal background and within the team had a high level of responsibility.
6.3 The comparator was appointed as a Senior Engineer on 3 March 2003 to fill a deficit of engineering ability that had been recognised by the respondent at a time when the work of EirGrid was developing. What is apparent is that when the comparator started work, nearly two years after the complainant, he carried out similar work to the complainant for a period of approximately nine months. This was partly because that was where staff resources were needed and partly to give the complainant a knowledge of the work of the Codes and Agreement Section. Also the complainant would have shown the complainant some areas of work, during this initial period.
6.4 The complainant was an experienced worker by the time the comparator started working for the respondent. For his first nine months of employment the comparator did not undertake the full range of duties for which he had been recruited because he needed to become familiar with the work of the section and because the section was going through a period of growth and was very busy with the development, management and administration of the agreements. During this period there would have been a similarity in the duties undertaken by the complainant and the comparator. However, the comparator did move into the role for which he was recruited and in looking at the issue of whether they were undertaking work of equal value I have to concentrate on the work he performed from 2004 onwards, when both he and the complainant were carrying out the full range of duties for which they were recruited and which the respondent considered were reflected in their remuneration.
6.5 The work inspections showed that the complainant spent about 30% of her time managing the TUoS Agreements, work which she did on her own. Around 15% of her time was spent on legal research into CER decisions. She also spent a significant amount of time on legal research into customer queries, ownership of connection works, service charges and decommissioning and reinstatement bonds; and assisting the Company Lawyer with developing the sign-off procedure for agreements. The remainder of her time was spent working on and issuing other types of agreements as and when required; managing and developing templates and databases for the agreements, particularly the TUoS agreements; and a number of short term projects and tasks that were part of the general work of the Section.
6.6 The work inspections showed that from 2004 onwards the comparator maintained an involvement in the development and on-going management of the transmission agreements and offer process. He also covered for staff when they were absent and worked on the more general management of the work on the agreements issues by the section. He was responsible for ongoing work in looking into 250 derogations requested by clients to the CER Grid Code for ESB Powergen plant. This work required a technical understanding of the plant and the regulations. The majority of his time was spent on projects, they varied in their nature, length and technical content but he spent an average of 70% of his time on these projects and up to 100% at certain times. The projects included: co-ordinating the final amendments to the Grid code for rules for wind farms and co-ordinating the Grid Cod 'Compliance Testing Project'. Other projects involved working on deliverables that had been set by the CER, such as a consultation paper on future arrangements for contestability, developing a connection agreement for DSO connections to the transmission system and issuing industry standard connection agreements to all 32 pre-1999 connected customers. He lead research into and developed new Grid Code rules for Combined Cycle Gas Turbine plant. He was expected to work on his own with minimal supervision and was expected to use his previous experience in project management. Whilst the projects did not involve a high technical content in the work they did need a high level of technical understanding.
6.7 Both sides produced job descriptions for both the complainant and the comparator. The complainant did have a concern with the ESB Category, 'Admin/Clerical' in the job description and the respondent accepted this was a mistake and should have been 'Account./Admin'. I reviewed the job descriptions and analysed them against my own findings from the work inspections. The job descriptions submitted for the complainant both contained similar key responsibilities; the respondent's is succinct whilst the complainant's is more expansive. In giving Work Examples the complainant has listed most of the tasks she undertook, some of these were short-lived. I find the Work Examples given by the respondent to give a clearer picture of the complainant's job. I therefore find that the respondent's job description for the complainant (the first document in Appendix 1) to be reflective of the job she undertook.
6.8 In looking at the job description submitted by the complainant for the comparator I find that it has tried to list all the tasks he undertook but does not give the key responsibilities and does not include the majority of work undertaken by the comparator on projects he was involved in from 2004 onwards. The job description for the comparator submitted by the respondent (the second document in Appendix 1) includes the project work as a general responsibility and lists the other key responsibilities. I therefore find it to be reflective of the work undertaken by the comparator when he was undertaking the full range of duties for which he was employed.
6.9 The following is my findings in respect of the two jobs in relation to the categories in section 7(1)(c) of the Acts.
6.10 Physical Requirements and Working Conditions
It is accepted that the physical requirements and working conditions of the complainant and the comparator were similar.
The complainant had a law degree and significant work experience and this was why she was recruited. She used her skills in the work she undertook largely unsupervised on the TUoS Agreements. She also used her skills in undertaking legal research but given the legal nature of the agreements any amendments had to be approved by the section head and head of Legal Affairs. She did also undertake a number of projects; such as designing template agreements, designing databases and developing agreements, but these were mainly short term.
The comparator was a qualified engineer with a PhD and an experienced project manager who was recruited because of his qualifications and experience. He did not use his skills fully during his initial nine months with the respondent when he undertook work that was largely that of a Regulatory Analyst. After this he took on more work that reflected his engineering qualifications and project management skills. He worked on projects that had a much greater technical element; such as those set out in paragraph 4.8. These projects were longer term than anything undertaken by the complainant and made use of the complainant's technical, professional, commercial and business skills.
Whilst both the complainant and the comparator used their skills to a high level my conclusion is that the skills of the comparator reflected the project management experience he had and were higher than that of the complainant.
The complainant's main responsibilities were in relation to the TUoS agreements and, as stated previously, she worked largely unsupervised. However, she was working within parameters set down by the respondent once the agreements had been established. Also there was a formal signing-off procedure. The level of responsibility is reflected in that the complainant's work outside of the routine, in respect of the TUoS, other agreements and projects she undertook, was in bringing in changes already identified but not in initiating change. Her other main area of responsibility was legal research into CER decisions, customer queries, ownership of connection works, service charges and decommissioning and reinstatement bonds; and assisting the Company Lawyer with developing the sign-off procedure for agreements. Again the complainant was the only person performing this work in the section and involved a high level of responsibility.
The level of responsibility of the comparator is reflected in the projects he worked on for most of his time form 2004 onwards. Some of these were innovative in the work of EirGrid and required coordination and consultation with other areas of EirGrid and with outside bodies and customers. Also the reporting arrangements were different than he would have had for routine tasks. This means that he had a high level of responsibility whilst working on these long term projects.
The complainant had a high level of responsibility in that most of the work she did on her own but her work was largely part of a process which required sign-off by senior managers. The comparator also worked on his own to a large extent but he was given a good deal more autonomy and whilst he reported to his manager he was not subject to the same level of sign-off. He was expected to take the initiative and develop the projects some of which were innovative and involved a good deal of liaison with senior technical staff both internally and externally It is for theses reasons that I conclude that the comparator had a higher level of responsibility than the complainant.
6.13 Mental Requirements
Both the complainant and the comparator were expected to work on their own for a significant proportion of their time and this meant that the mental requirements of both jobs were at a significant level. The parameters on the work carried out by the complainant put limits on the mental requirements of the post. The agreements had a signing off process, all legal research would have been submitted to the Company Lawyer for decision and the project work was short term.
The comparator was in charge of some innovative projects and would not be reporting to the Head of Section on a regular basis. He was expected to make decisions on how the project should be carried out and what work was involved and consequently the parameters were much looser than more routine work. This level of autonomy requires a very high level of mental effort to be able to make the decisions to ensure the project runs smoothly.
I conclude that the mental requirements of the comparator were higher than those of the complainant.
6.14 In summary the level of demand on both the complainant and the comparator were the same in terms of physical requirements and working conditions. However, I consider the demands made on the named male comparator in terms of the level of skill, responsibility and mental requirements were greater that than those made on the complainant. I am, therefore, satisfied that the complainant did not perform work of equal value to the named male comparator in terms of Section 7(1)(c) of the 1998-2007 Acts.
7. DECISION OF THE EQUALITY OFFICER.
I have concluded my investigation of this complaint and hereby make the following decision in accordance with Section 79(6) of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998-2008. I find that the complainant did not undertake like work with the named comparator in terms of section 7(1)(c) of the Acts and she is therefore not entitled to the same rate of remuneration as paid to the comparator by the respondent in accordance with section 19 of the Acts.
23 March 2011
Respondents job Descriptions for Complainant and Comparator.
Job Description Form
Job Title: Regulatory Analyst, Codes & Agreements.
ESB Grade: 980A
ESB Category: 29 (Admin / clerical)
Section / Dept : Regulation
Responsible to : Manager, Codes & Agreements
Responsible for : N/A
Role - General Description:
This role involves administering, certain transmission agreements, providing legal support and assistance on matters pertaining to the Codes & Agreements team (including advice to external customers), providing input to customer disputes and CER proceedings and developing policies and procedures to underpin procedural and contract compliance. The focus of this role is business, as opposed to technical, with a strong legal/commercial learning. Therefore, legal experience is desirable and commercial awareness is essential. Strong organisational, work management and interpersonal skills with an ability to negotiate effectively are all required skills for this role.
Role- Key Responsibilities:
The key responsibilities of this role are:
- Development, negotiation and on-going management of transmission use - of -system (TUoS) Agreement;
- Development of policies and procedures to underpin procedural and contract compliance;
- Provide legal assistance and support, as required, to the offer process and connection agreement, and other relevant agreements', development and management;
- Provide advice on emerging legislative issues, as appropriate;
- Input to customer disputes and CER proceedings, as appropriate;
Role - Work Examples:
- Administers transmission use-of-system (TUoS) agreements for licensed Electricity Suppliers;
- Handles external queries relating to TUoS agreements;
- Assisted in the development of the Company Lawyer's TUoS agreement management procedure;
- Co-ordinate negotiations on agreeing a form of TUoS agreement with ESB PES (on-going);
- Ensure appropriate legal and commercial provisions exist in the standard form of TUoS agreement (on-going);
- Develop a TUoS Agreement 'Supplier's User Guide' (on-going);
- Provide legal support and assistance on the development of a connection agreement for DSO (Distribution System Operator) connections to the transmission system (on-going);
- Provide legal support and assistance on the negotiations for the unsigned pre - 1999 connected customers connection agreements (issued as part of 'CER Deliverable') (on-going);
- Developed an internal procedure for managing amendments to the standard form of connection agreement, its general conditions and its associated offer letters;
- Assisted in the development of a procedure for managing connection agreement terminations;
- Assisted in the drafting of standard Offer Process agreement/letter templates;
- Co-ordinate an internal detailed review of the industry standard form of connection agreement (on-going);
- Provide advice and assistance in ensuring the appropriate legal and commercial provisions exist in the standard form of connection agreement, its general conditions and its associated offer letters (on-going);
- Prepare and (part) deliver an internal presentation on the background, make-up and issues pertaining to the current connection agreement (on-going):
- Assist in ensuring Eirgrid Business Readiness from a TUoS/connection agreement perspective (on-going);
- Audit connection contracts to ensure compliance with insurance provisions (on-going)
- Co-ordinate a review of the industry standard connection agreement insurance provisions with ESB Group Insurance and develop appropriate policy (on-going);
- Reviewed and reported on various legislative developments e.g. Internal Market on Electricity Regulation; and
- Provide input to CER disputes and CER draft determinations.
Role - Knowledge / Skills Requirements:
- Business/Legal qualification Degree level;
- Strong commercial awareness;
- Strong interpersonal skills;
- Contract management knowledge;
- Strong organisational and work management skills;
- Negotiation skills;
- Attention to detail;
- Customer focus;
- Team player;
Job Description Form
Job Title; Senior Engineer, Codes & Agreement
Section / Dept; Regulation
EirGrid grade; N/A
Job equivalent to ESB 330/328 (Senior Professional Engineer 2 / Engineer SEM Specialist)
See Job Ad. E200218
EirGrid Category: 30
Responsible to: Manager, Codes & Agreements
Responsible for: N/A
Role - General Description:
This role is primarily responsible for managing and delivering on technical and non technical projects, of varying magnitude, involving staff from different areas within ESB. In addition the role-holder is required to contribute to all aspects of the Codes & Agreements team, with the level of involvement dependent on workload demands and staff availability. The role-holder requires excellent interpersonal and project management skills with a high degree of adaptability and strong initiative. The role has a significant technical component and involves dealing with complex technical and non-technical issues. Consequently a strong technical, judgement and problem solving acumen is necessitated. The role also involves the provision of coaching and mentoring, as required, to other less experienced staff within the Codes & Agreements team.
Role - Key Responsibilities:
The key responsibilities of this role are firstly to manage specific technical and non-technical projects, of varying magnitude, which are designed to either achieve CER targets (Deliverables) , meet stakeholder needs or satisfy company requirements, and secondly to contribute to all aspects of the Codes & Agreements team as required. The latter will involve contributing to the following work areas;
- Development, negotiation and on-going management of connection, use-of-system and other relevant transmission agreements;
- Management of an inter-departmental process (Offer Process) to ensure the delivery of connection offers within regulated timeliness;
- Grid Code development and management including administering code changes and derogation requests; and
- Input to customer disputes and CER proceedings, as appropriate.
Role - Work Examples:
- Prepared a consultation paper on future arrangements regarding contestability (CER Deliverable);
- Issued industry standard connection agreements to all 32 pre-1999 connected customers (CER Deliverable);
- Co-ordinated the final amendments to the new Grid Code rules for wind farms following public consultation and independent technical review;
- Aided in the management of the 'Offer Process';
- Drafted, negotiated and managed the execution of a large number of connection agreements for major new thermal plant, wind farms and demand facilities;
- Co-ordinate the negotiations for the connection agreement for DSO connections to the transmission system (issued as part of CER Deliverable) which involves agreeing technical data with ESBPG for their generation units (on-going);
- Developed an offer Process 'Code of Practice' which sets out the technical, legal and commercial principles underpinning the production of connection offers;
- Co-ordinate Grid Code 'Compliance Testing Project', which will involve periodic testing of generators and follow-up remedial actions for non-compliance (on-going);
- Process c.250 outstanding Grid Code derogations for ESBPG plant (on-going);
- Lead the research into, and if appropriate, co-ordinate the development of, new Grid Code rules for Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plane (on-going);
- Assist in the benchmarking of ESBNG's Grid Code rules for wind farms against other TSOs (on-going);
- Co-ordinated and/or provided input to various CER disputes and draft determinations;
- Directly contributed to the interview and selection process for the recently appointed Codes & Agreement's summer student; and
- Assists in the coaching and mentoring of more recently appointed staf, notably in the contract management and Offer Process areas (on-going);
Role -Knowledge/Skills Requirements:
- Engineering qualification Degree level;
- Experience in power systems and/or other relevant experience;
- Strong analytical and problem solving ability;
- Excellent interpersonal skills;
- Contract negotiation and management knowledge;
- Commercial awareness;
- Project management skills;
- Strong initiative;
- Team player;
Complainant's Job Descriptions for Complainant and Comparator.
The Equality Tribunal
Employment Equality Acts, 1998 - 2008
ESB National Grid/Eirgrid
Job description for Ellen Thorsch:
Role- Key Responsibilities:
1. Sole management and development of all aspects of the Transmission use of System Agreements including the development and maintenance of databases, issuing of agreements and liaising with the Market Operations Department, drafting letter of credit. In addition, negotiating and developing a suitable Transmission Use of System Agreement with ESB PES (Public Electricity Supplier) and drafting a revised agreement for EirGrid readiness.
2. Sole management and drafting of templates for the Transmission Connection Agreement including all letter templates required for specific stages of the Connection Offer Process. (Commission for Energy Regulation deliverable in 2003,). Liaising with the Engineering Departments and managing a review of the Agreement with the Transmission Asset Management Department including developing a milestone flowchart. Initiation and development of an e-filing system for the Transmission Connection Agreement bonds database.
3. Issuing of Transmission Connection Agreements for Generation and Demand Customers. Initiation, development and maintenance of the first Transmission Connection Agreement bonds database.
4. Development with Liam Ryan of a Distribution System Operator Connection Agreement which was a Commission for Energy Regulation Deliverable in 2004 /2005.
5. Drafting responses to the Commission for Energy Regulation both in relation to Customer Disputes and the development of policies by the Commission for Energy Regulation, particularly those published for public consultation.
6. Review and draft as necessary from a legal perspective all other legal agreements and provide advice of any emerging issues in the Regulation and Pricing Department, particularly, in respect of inconsistencies with the Transmission Use of System Agreements and the Transmission Connection Agreement with other agreements of the Regulation and Pricing Department.
7. Initiation and development of internal policies and procedures in the Regulation and Pricing Department.
8. Drafting of written responses and negotiating with customers and their legal representatives particularly in relation to the more complex issues concerning the Offer Process and the Transmission Connection Agreements for customers allocated to myself and those allocated to my colleagues. Specifically Commission for Energy Regulation Deliverable to issue revise Connection Agreements to all existing Customers with Liam Ryan concerning the more complex customers who did not wish / were reluctant to sign a revised agreement.
9. Legal and other research as necessary concerning de-regulation of the electricity industry on national, European Union, United Kingdom levels. Specifically the offer Process procedure revised in 2003, European Member State Unbundling.
10. Provision of information and assistance / coaching including Commission for Energy Regulation decision and policies and internal procedures and policies to existing and new colleagues including my comparator Mr Liam Ryan and my new line manager Mr Simon Grimes.
Role - Work Examples:
1. Initiation and development of policies and procedures including several databases, for example:
- MS Access database for all colleagues to use in the Regulation in Pricing Department setting out the tasks each was currently working on.
- e-filing procedure for the all documents concerning the issuing of the Transmission Connection Agreement including documents from the Finance, Engineering and Legal departments.
- Handover procedure between Customer Relations section and Codes and Agreements to ensure all connection applications were allocated and processed swiftly and efficiently.
- Proposed the development of a Regulator Directions and Decisions database (later maintained by Hazel Kearney/ Leonard).
- Development of a contracts and financial security database (later maintained by the finance department of ESB National Grid. Contracts database provided the basis for the Legal Department to develop its own all ESB National Grid contracts database).
- Developed a documental control / amendment procedure for managing amendments to the Connection Agreement templates, developed databases and maintained hard copy files in accordance with the procedure.
- Companies Act 2003 compliance project involved compiling all procedures from all sections of the Regulation and Pricing Department and setting up of a database.
- Assisted the Company Lawyer in the development of a sign off procedure to ensure all agreements had Regulatory, Legal and Financial sign off before being issued to customers.
- Drafting of Insurance obligations for customers in conjunction with Derry Holland of ESB Insurance section to ensure all customers had correct insurance coverage.
- Drafting Order of Precedence proposal setting out the level of importance / precedence of each section of the Transmission Connection Agreement.
2. Drafting of Standard Connection Agreement Template Project into 4 sections being a Commission for Energy Regulation Deliverable.
3. Re-draft and maintained all Standard Connection Agreement templates as necessary in accordance with Commission for Energy Regulation decisions and Directions and evolving company policies to be used by colleagues and claimant in issuing Connection Agreements.
4. Drafted all templates for all letters as part of the Connection Offer Process concerning the issuing of Connection Agreements.
5. Drafting of all other agreement templates to be used by colleagues in Codes and Agreements and finance section of Market Operations department e.g Letter of Credit, Direct Agreement, Novation Agreements, Amendment Agreements, Commission for Energy Regulation tendering Generator Capacity competition, Interim Connection Agreements, Letter Agreement for Maximum Import Capacity (MIC) Administration Proposal, Assignment Agreements, In sum any agreement as the situation required.
6. Sole Management of all aspects of the Transmission Use of System Agreement as described in Key Responsibilities above.
7. Reviewed and commented on new 70 day Offer Process procedure being a Commission for Energy Regulation deliverable. In addition to researching and providing legal and policy documentation to my colleague Dean Short to enable him to draft the Offer Process procedure.
8. Issuing of Connection Agreements to Demand and Generator customers.
9. Re-issue of the revised Connection Agreements to all existing Customers. This was a Commission for Energy Regulation Deliverable in 2004 / 2005. Ellen Thorsch was tasked with responding and negotiating with more complex customers who did not wish to sign a revised agreement.
10. Research and advice on, for example:
- Ownership of the connection works,
- Ongoing service charge,
- Decommission and re-instatement bonds,
- Any legal / regulatory issues raised by customers and colleagues or proposals to amend the Connection Agreement,
- De-registration clauses of the Trading and Settlement Code in the Market Operations department,
- Termination agreement proposal,
- Change of supplier,
- Distribution System Operator's connected customers payment of Transmission Use of System Charges in conjunction with the Market Operations department,
- Harmonisation of the Trading and Settlement Code with the Transmission Use of System agreement,
- Harmonisation and compatibility of the Grid Code with the Connection Agreement,
- Customer disputes,
- Commissions for Energy Regulation policies and decisions to provide formal responses by the Company, firm / non-firm direction and any other policies / determinations to my line manager,
- Contractual background information on previous ESB customers,
- The amended Supply Licence,
- Draft infrastructure agreement,
- Garrad Hassan Windpower Study,
- Indicative Construction Information,
- EirGrid Business Readiness / Vesting agreements,
- Interconnection Auction Agreement for the Transmission Pricing section and all agreements managed by the Ancillary Services section,
- All new Statutory legislation and EU Directives.
11. Initiated definitions / issues / concepts and review of Connection Agreement project and liaised with Transmission Asset Management Department including the drafting of flowcharts highlighting conflicts.
12. Explanatory Company Presentation of the Connection Agreement and accompanying handout of the main principles
13. Drafted Codes and Agreements section Business Plan with Line Manager.
14. Audited a substantial number of executed Connection Agreements particularly in relation to the provision of bonds, insurance obligations, longstop dates etc. Advised my comparator and other colleagues in relation to the specific obligations, ongoing management of insurance issues, wrote to all customers in relation to their insurance obligations and obtained insurance certificates, reviewed them.
15. Risk Review of the terms and conditions of the Transmission Connection Agreement, establishing conflicting clauses and how the Company could be at risk therefrom.
16. Managed queries / issues concerning customer connections.
17. Drafted appropriate side letter template for 2005 Generator Capacity Competition, Researched and analysed the implications for the company of the Competition documentation issued by the Regulator.
18. Reviewed Transmission Asset Management department's policy on Indicative Costs for the Connection Agreement and provided comments.
19. Provided information , documentation and coached new colleagues joining the Codes and Agreements area, particularly to my comparator, Mr Liam Ryan and my Line Manager, Mr Simon Grimes.
20. Initiated and commented on Codes and Agreements Contracts upon EirGrid Vesting (EirGrid Business Readiness),
21. Commented on Termination Agreement.
22. Researched the Supplier provision in the Connection Agreement and advised line manager.
23. Reviewed and commented on a substantial number of curriculum vitaes from firms of Consultants to be placed on the Company's panel of consultants.
The Equality Tribunal
Employment Equality Acts 1998 -2008
ESB National Grid/Eirgrid
Job description for Liam Ryan
Role - Key Responsibilities:
1. Issuing of Transmission Connection Agreements for both new Generator and Demand Customers. Specifically the re-issue of the revised Connection Agreements to all existing Customers. This was a Commission for Energy Regulation Deliverable in 2004 / 2005. Ellen Thorsch was tasked with responding and negotiating with the more complex customers who did not wish to sign a revised agreement.
2. Development with Ellen Thorsch of a Distribution System Operator Connection Agreement which was a Commission for Energy Regulation Deliverable in 2004 /2005.
3. Provision of input to disputes with Customers and the Commission for Energy Regulation and any internally emerging issues in the Codes and Agreements section.
4. Assisting John Luders and , following his departure, Shane Maher in the Connection Offer Process in particular the development of checklists.
5. Assisting Doireann Barry and, following her departure, Emma Fagan with Grid Code derogations and development.
6. Revision of the existing contestability policy.
7. Development of a Key Principles concepts policy.
Role - Work Examples:
1. Updated spreadsheets / Microsoft Project Offer Process Procedure database to comply with new 70 day Offer Process procedure i.e. checking off each sub-task for each stage of the Offer Process in the time permitted by the Offer Process.
2. Issuing of Connection Agreements to Demand and Generator customers and other agreements as per the templates.
3. Ad hoc amendments to the Connection Agreement until Connection Agreement Amendment Procedure was developed by Ellen Thorsch, Proposed amendments to the Connection Agreement.
4. Proposed further amendments to the Company Lawyer's sign off procedure for Transmission Connection Agreements following approval of the new 70 day Offer Process procedure.
5. Development of Distribution System Operator Connection Agreement as per Key Responsibilities above, (CER Deliverable using standard connection agreement templates drafted by Ellen Thorsch) Develop procedure / clause in agreement for updating the Distribution System Operator Connection Agreement.
6. Issuing of Transmission Connection Agreements to all existing Customers as per Key Responsibilities above, (CER Deliverable using standard connection agreement templates drafted by Ellen Thorsch) Including liaising with the Engineering Departments of Power System Operation, Transmission Asset Management and Planning with regard to the existing connection methodologies of the customers.
7. Revision of the existing contestability policy. The original contestability policy developed in 2000/ 2001 permitted Customer's to choose whether they wished to carry out the construction works themselves on their connection or request ESB to do so.
8. Development of a Key Principles concepts policy / Cod of Practice. This involved defining and agreeing specific concepts of the Transmission Connection Agreement.
9. Grid Code derogation processing and development of Grid Code as per Key Responsibilities above in conjunction with Emma Fagan.
10. Provision of input / comments to disputes with Customers and the Commission for Energy Regulation and any internally emerging issues in the Codes and Agreements section. May have co-ordinated inputs from other departments in respect of Derrybrien Dispute.
11. Issued Interim Connection Agreements using the templates drafted managed by Ellen Thorsch.
12. Advised Customers in relation to the specific obligations of the Transmission Connection Agreement following an audit by Ellen Thorsch of executed Transmission Connection Agreements, specifically in relation to the provision of bonds, insurance obligations, longstop dates etc.
13. Post-offer acceptance process development of a Microsoft Project Database to ensure that the obligations in the Connection Agreement were met by the Customer once the Connection Agreement had been signed. This followed on from a Risk Review of the terms and conditions of the Connection Agreement carried out by Ellen Thorsch.
14. Managed queries / issues concerning customer connections.
15. Issued side letters and Connection Agreements for the 2005 Generator Capacity Competition as per template drafted by Ellen Thorsch.
16. Reviewed Transmission Asset Management department's policy on Indicative Costs for the Connection Agreement and provided comments.
17. Implementation of e0filing procedure initiated and developed by Ellen Thorsch.
18. Develop proposal for dealing with Combined Cycle Generating Turbines in the Grid Code in conjunction with Emma Fagan. Involving researching the current technology, researching what other Transmission System Operator's are doing on this issue and dealing with compliance.
19. Develop proposal for compliance with the Grid Code in conjunction with Emma Fagan. Involving research in other jurisdictions and meeting with the Power System Operations department. Develop and agree tests for new windfarm connections including the Distribution System Operator and develop and agree test for currently connected customers.
20. Co-ordinate the final amendment to the new Wind Grid Code.
21. Further developed the handover procedure initiated and drafted by Ellen Thorsch with the line manager Simon Grimes.
22. Provided information, documentation and coached new colleagues joining the Codes and Agreements area.
23. Carried out an analysis of the Connection Agreements for the Company Lawyer (EirGrid Business Readiness).
24. Commented on Termination Agreement.
25. Research the Supplier provision in the Connection Agreement and advised line manager.
26. Contributed to the interview and selection process of the Codes and Agreements Summer Student proposed by Shane Maher.