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Chief Pleas ‘has no intention of buying company’

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SARK’S Chief Pleas has no intention of buying Sark Electricity Ltd, according to the company’s director.

Sark Electricity director David Gordon-Brown. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 24289724)

David Gordon-Brown was also surprised that a notice has appeared on the website of the Sark Electricity Prices Control Commissioner indicating that he was moving towards a further valuation of the cost of power in the island.

It was commissioner Anthony White’s directive last year to drop the price per unit of electricity from 66p to 52p, which led to SEL saying that this would stop it making a profit and it threatening to turn the power off last November.

The crisis was averted only when an agreement was reached that Chief Pleas would buy the company.

This was meant to have taken place before the end of February, but that deadline passed with no deal.

Mr Gordon-Brown said nobody had been appointed to value the company at the start of last month, and he told the Guernsey Press on Saturday that nothing had changed.

He said that the agreement undertaken while the sale was negotiated was that the price of power would return to 66p a unit, and Mr White cannot change that until after the process has completed. ‘But Chief Pleas still has not agreed how to do it,’ he said.

No valuation of the company has taken place, and Mr Gordon-Brown said his idea of a joint solution was rejected by Chief Pleas because it did not want to pay: ‘They said they would do it independently,’ he said.

‘Frankly, I’m entirely convinced they have no intention of buying the company.’

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Mr White’s notice said that he had received a valuation of the company’s electrical system and was preparing a draft consultation paper for discussion.

Mr Gordon-Brown said that the valuation was not very accurate and in his opinion was designed to provide a minimal valuation.

He has told Mr White that he cannot make this valuation public until after the sale has completed: ‘I’ve said he can’t do this because it will muddy the waters,’ said Mr Gordon-Brown.

‘We already have an agreement to keep the price where it is until government is finished.’

But he was unclear of where things stood at present regarding the sale: ‘I’m completely in the dark,’ he said. ‘I’ve no idea what’s going on.’

. The chairman and vice-chairman of Sark's Policy and Finance Committee were approached for comment but did not respond.

Mark Ogier

By Mark Ogier
News reporter

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