IDA Ireland told the Government that some multinationals had suffered "considerable financial loss" due to a decision by the body that operates the national grid to stop connections for new data centres.

In July 2020, EirGrid stopped the facilities from linking to Ireland's electrical system at the direction of the energy regulator amid concerns about excessive demand for power.

In February of this year a senior official from the IDA told the Department of Enterprise that the policy adopted by the operator of the grid had "caused difficulties" for some investors in data centres.

The IDA representative said: "These investors made significant advance investments (eg. in consultation, site acquisition, obtaining planning permission, etc) in expectation of getting a connection to the grid/distribution network and now find that this will not be possible."

The official added: "They will be at considerable financial loss."

The note was released to RTÉ by the IDA under Freedom of Information.

A separate record shows that in March of this year EirGrid told Government officials at a meeting about data centres it "could not accommodate" all the applications for connections to the grid it was receiving.

Another record shows the Department of Enterprise toned down a warning about electricity customers being asked to absorb costs of investment in the national grid in a consultation document submitted to the energy regulator.

In a draft letter, the department said shielding customers from the cost is "particularly important in the context of current unprecedented price spikes experienced this winter".

The note said: "Increases in electricity bills through grid costs, as well as any perception of likely price volatility, are likely to undermine business confidence, tighten margins and dampen investment as businesses factor in higher costs and cost uncertainty."

The note said that "any changes to the grid tariff structure, it is imperative that electricity grid costs are minimised, that they reflect and incentivise efficient use of the grid and that Ireland, at a minimum, does not lose its relative competitiveness in the EU".

It added: "In fact, it should be a clear, underlying objective to improve relative competitiveness."

Read more: The rise and rise of data centres in Ireland

However, in the final version of the document, the department said grid costs would be borne by customers and it was necessary to allow these costs to be spread equitably between new and existing customers.

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), which regulates the energy market, appeared before the Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action this morning.

In an opening address, the CRU outlined the measures it is taking to help domestic energy customers who are struggling to pay bills.

The regulator also detailed how it is working through the supplier of last resort process for customers of Panda Energy, which is leaving the market.

It provided figures to politicians showing the level of arrears and disconnections among consumers has remained broadly stable so far this year, despite significant increases in prices.

In the address, the CRU also said that it is concerned about a gap in offshore safety regulation as Ireland prepares for a major increase in investment in wind turbines at sea.

The regulator warned that given the amount of wind energy and battery storage projects in the pipeline that more resources need to be given to An Bord Pleanála and local authorities.