SEL boss ‘is being forced to leave island’

SARK Electricity’s managing director Alan Jackson says he is being forced to leave the island due to the stress put on him.

Sark Electricity Limited. (28718842)
Sark Electricity Limited. (28718842)

However, Mr Jackson said he was still committed to the utility, despite the difficulties he is facing.

He bought the struggling business in March and aimed to update the dated infrastructure. But since then he has said that Chief Pleas and the Price Control Commissioner have obstructed his aims and he cannot take living in the community any longer.

‘They’ve chased me out,’ he said, confirming that he and his partner and fellow company director James Penny were now looking at moving to Alderney or Guernsey.

‘Chief Pleas throughout all this has been very combative. There is very little value in us being on Sark.’

Despite the deterioration in relations, Mr Jackson said he was still committed to the company and helping the island.

He said his big issue has been the lack of communication from Chief Pleas and the unrealistic expectations from the Price Control Commissioner. In the latter he said it was difficult, as the PCO had estimated that there would be £68,000 profit between January and July, yet actually there was a £6,000 loss.

He also said Chief Pleas was making his job more difficult than necessary, by not communicating with him or responding to his queries. One example was that he wanted to comply with health and safety, but Sark did not have set rules for this and Chief Pleas had not given him guidance.

He said that he really wanted to keep the people of Sark connected, but was also finding this difficult as they were not working with him. He has written to the residents who are set to lose power, after an islander asked for the company’s equipment to be removed from his land. This was because there were no wayleaves – permissions – in place to make sure they could be kept there.

Mr Jackson said he was organising to put in new cabling, but asked for landowners to agree to wayleaves, to ensure this sort of problem did not come up again. However, only one resident has agreed so far.

‘I want to make sure the wayleaves are in place for the lifetime of the cable and equipment,’ he said.

‘That is usually about 40 to 50 years.’

Sark chief secretary Zannette Bougourd said that the Policy & Finance Committee had met with Mr Jackson on one occasion and he had met informally with representatives of the douzaine on another.

She said they would continue to try and engage with Mr Jackson.

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