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New owners for Sark Electricity after 50 years

New owners for Sark Electricity after 50 years

Wednesday 11 March 2020

New owners for Sark Electricity after 50 years


Sark Electricity has been sold, marking the end of a 50-year era for its previous owners.

The company passed to Witney Price for an undisclosed sum yesterday.

The decision was made following the death of SEL's Managing Director, David Gordon-Brown.

"It is with deep sadness that we have made this decision," said David's son and former Director, Andrew Gordon-Brown. "The island of Sark has been an important part of our lives for three generations and the decision to hand over the baton to Witney Price was not an easy one.

"However, we have known Alan Jackson for a number of years and he has spent many of those encouraging SEL to push towards a greener energy future for Sark. His energy and passion for Sark and its future has given us the confidence to entrust him with our family's legacy."

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Pictured: The sale comes after the company's Managing Director David Gordon-Brown passed away.

The small business has been at the centre of controversy over the past couple of years, with SEL looking to up its charges to 85p per unit. Its dispute with the island's government - known as 'Chief Pleas' - led to a threat of Sark losing all electricity in 2018, and both parties found themselves in court over the matter.

"Any transition can be painful and if individual agendas are not in sync, then significant pain is inevitable," said Mr Jackson, speaking on behalf of Witney Price. "I cannot talk to the strategies of the past; I can only say that transparency and cooperation are our ultimate goals and we look forward to meeting with representatives of Chief Pleas and the wider community to explore avenues that produce a collective island benefit."

Under new ownership, the company plans to start work on green energy infrastructure this year, as long as Chief Pleas agrees.

"In terms of our number one challenge today, it would have to be the recent release of the Electricity (Sark) Law 2020 which almost ended the transaction entirely," Mr Jackson added.

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Pictured: The company is planning to start work on green energy infrastructure this year.

"We will engage with Chief Pleas to understand its objectives and, from there, make decisions about our investment options moving forward.

"For our part, we would break ground tomorrow on a cheaper, greener energy future for the island, that stimulates the economy and works towards eradicating energy poverty in Sark. For some of our less wealthy residents, this is a significant problem.

"A single unified provider meeting the needs of all residents is the best option. We appreciate that those with independent wealth can install individual solutions that benefit them specifically and the desire to do this is entirely understandable. My job is to persuade them that a unified approach is in the interest of all residents.

"To do that, we need to stabilise supply, provide full financial transparency to regulator and deliver on a green energy future that supports the entire community. Only this will give them the confidence that energy unity is an agenda they can, and should, support.

"I suspect I will be a little busy in the coming months."

The Gordon-Brown family have asked for privacy while their mourn their recent loss.

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