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Repairs to power cable fault 'by peak of winter'

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NO DATE has yet been given for the restoration of Guernsey’s power supply from France via Jersey – while the financial impact remains unclear.

Special permission had to be obtained to dig the beach at Greve de Lecq to access the damaged cable, which carries electricity between Jersey and Guernsey. (Picture by David Ferguson, 22843615)

The cable has been out of service since 1 October and on Friday the fault was found to be lying under the sands of Greve de Lecq beach in Jersey.

The cause of the fault has not been identified and a specialist team from Europe will have to be brought in to undertake the repair work.

In the meantime, Guernsey’s electricity is being supplied by generators and turbines running on diesel at the island’s power station.

The financial implications of the fault remain unclear. When asked about the cost of the repair and who will pay, Guernsey Electricity said that the commercial terms of the contracts were confidential.

In general, it also costs more to generate on-island than to import electricity from France.

‘We are investigating the cause of the fault on the GJ1 cable, but our priority at present is repairing the cable as quickly and safely as possible,’ said GE chief executive Alan Bates.

‘This incident again reinforces the need for clear energy policy direction on the required security of supply for the island, as well as the island’s environmental and renewable aspirations.’

He added: ‘All of these remain very important in setting the direction of travel for infrastructure investments. Early energy policy direction is particularly important for reaching a decision on making what will be the company’s largest ever capital investment, a second subsea cable to the island.

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‘The proposed subsea cable direct to France (GF1), will further improve electricity security and increase the capacity to access affordable low carbon electricity for the island.’

Guernsey Electricity has also said that the cable is expected to be back in full service in time for the peak winter demand.

That is normally in January or February and a spokesman for Jersey Electricity said it was hoped that the work would be completed by the new year.

Tania Targett

By Tania Targett
Journalist

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