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Meta set to pay back Irish data centre electricity bill after ‘possible underbilling’

Written by Thu 3 Aug 2023

Facebook parent company Meta has started paying back an underpaid electricity bill for its data centre in Clonee, Ireland. The facility reportedly consumes as much power as 150,000 average homes.

Meta contacted state-owned EirGrid after identifying a ‘possible underbilling’. Over an 18-month period, only 7% of the data centre’s energy usage was recorded.

Two new transformers installed by grid operator ESB Networks at the Meta data centre were said to be incorrectly set up for billing. A preliminary report stated the registration of the additional metering is a ‘manual process’ that relied on data being communicated from on-site personnel to Profile Data Service (PDS).

“In this instance, an error was made and communication to PDS did not take place, which meant that these new transformers were energised without the meters being registered,” added the preliminary report by ESB Networks.

The report was forwarded to energy and water regulator the Commission for Regulation of Utilities, with reassurance that the underbilling was likely an isolated incident.

In an email, a manager in ESB Networks said they wanted to ‘apologise’ for the incident and that new procedures had been set up to prevent future incidents. Another email expressed concern around suggestions that Meta’s bill would be written off.

This error comes a year after Ireland’s state electricity grid authority, EirGrid, called to stop plans for up to 30 new data centres due to issues meeting the electricity demands of the growing sector.

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Written by Thu 3 Aug 2023

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