ESB management and unions are meeting the Labour Relations Commission today at an undisclosed location in a bid to avert the threatened strike over pensions.
It is the first talks breakthrough in the dispute with further discussions likely over the weekend.
The ESB group of unions has served notice of industrial action up to and including strike action from Monday 16 December if the dispute is not resolved in the meantime.
The unions will formally notify the company today of what form any industrial action would take.
ESB Chief Executive Pat O’Doherty said the company remained committed to resolving the issues raised by the unions.
He said the ESB owed it to their customers and the public to resolve their differences without the disastrous consequences of a strike.
But union sources described the sides as diametrically opposed – and said strong action would follow if there were no resolution.
Without any agreement, the risk of power blackouts from Monday 16 December remains live.