Shane Lynch to stand down as utility regulator
Northern Ireland's utility regulator Shane Lynch has announced he is standing down at the end of October.
Mr Lynch has been been in the job since January 2011.
He said: "It has been a privilege to lead the work of the utility regulator and I hope that the changes made during my tenure will serve customers well in the future."
The process to recruit Mr Lynch's successor will begin shortly.
As the chief executive of the Utility Regulator in Northern Ireland, Shane Lynch holds an important job.
The decisions he makes, in conjunction with his board, have real financial implications for everyone and ultimately determine the price we pay for electricity, gas and - in the case of commercial users - water.
His tenure has been marked by a frosty relationship with the utility companies in Northern Ireland.
That, in itself, is no bad thing - after all, it is his job to ensure customers get a fair deal.
However the constant battles which have involved two referrals to the Competition Commission - one regarding Phoenix Gas, the more recent relating to NIE - have probably done little to increase his job satisfaction.
Mr Lynch is expected to see out the NIE referral process with the Competition Commission before he stands down in October.
"Before my departure, I hope to have substantially delivered on the objectives of our corporate strategy, including making a full contribution to the Competition Commission's determination of the NIE price control," he said.
"I also want to allow enough time for my successor to participate in the formulation of our next five-year corporate strategy, effective from April 2014."
Bill Emery, chairman of the utility regulator, said: "On behalf of the board I would like to thank Shane for his work in guiding the utility regulator as chief executive and for all that he has achieved over the last four years.
"Building on his previous industry experience, Shane has brought a valuable focus on transparency, accountability and delivery to our organisation."
A mechanical engineering graduate from Queen's he was managing director of Kilroot power station and then development director for owners AES before he took the regulator job.
Ratings agencies have previously been critical of the regulatory environment in Northern Ireland.