Sark’s government is considering building a new electricity system after the island's power company threatened to disconnect Little Sark from the grid if it doesn’t get permission to install a new underground cable.
The island's leading Policy and Finance Committee (P&F) says it will soon be asking Sark's government - known as Chief Pleas - for its support in starting a tender process.
Chief Pleas directed P&F to begin negotiations with SEL with the intention of the government buying the business. Additionally, a compulsory purchase order has since been enacted.
However, despite a mediator being appointed to ease discussions between both SEL and P&F, the two parties have been unable to reach an agreement on price.
P&F said: “The opening position of SEL is based on terms, which have been stated as non-negotiable and that are considered to be fundamentally unacceptable to the Committee.”
Pictured: SEL wants permission to bury a new cable along La Coupée to ensure Little Sark still has access to power.
Due to the ongoing fraught negotiations between P&F and SEL, the Committee has come to the conclusion that the installation of an entirely new electricity system is the best course of action.
Conseiller John Guille said: “Following a year of mediation, it is disappointing that a starting point for negotiations has not yet been reached.
“Based on the current circumstances the Committee is firmly of the view that it needs to find an alternative model of supply that provides long term resilience. This is a fundamental concern that affects the welfare of all islanders.”
Mr Guille argues that SEL’s position, in regards to digging up La Coupee, doesn’t make sense.
“SEL has recently suggested that it would replace the link across La Coupée to Little Sark, which is losing its protective shielding, by burying a new connection beneath the roadway subject to it receiving the necessary permissions from government.
“This is not as simple as Chief Pleas granting permission for the works. The engineering considerations to ensure the integrity of this historic and vital causeway are significant.
“It is not clear why this expensive and disruptive option is more favourable to SEL than replacing the current externally mounted cable with a similar arrangement that meets modern standards. This one example indicates the complexities involved with replacing the electrical infrastructure which need to be properly researched and costed before permissions are granted.”
P&F said it will be publishing its report as soon as possible, suggesting it could arrive for debate as early as July.
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