Guernsey Electricity to lose sole right to supply

GUERNSEY ELECTRICITY will lose the sole right to supply and convey electricity next year and it may mean that the island will see more competition from other generation companies.

Guernsey Electricity. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 29408030)
Guernsey Electricity. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 29408030)

While GEL has said that it is keen to see more people generate electricity, it is also aware that following the publication of a recent energy policy there could in the future be more energy suppliers providing renewable energy to compete with them, including those offshore.

The Electricity Law defines the three activities that constitute the electricity supply chain – the generation of electricity, the conveyance of electricity across predominantly the high voltage network, and the supply of electricity through the low voltage network directly to homes and business.

GEL currently has a 15-year generation licence, without exclusivity, that expires on 31 January 2027.

A Guernsey Electricity spokesperson said: ‘GEL has never enjoyed an exclusive licence for generation, indeed there are others on the island with a licence to generate.

‘With regard to our conveyance and supply licences, these were also issued for 15 years on an exclusive basis for the first 10 years.

‘It is therefore correct that we lose exclusive rights to supply and convey on 31 January 2022, for the remaining five years of the licence.’

They will, however, continue to have a say in the island’s future as they are involved in the recently approved Energy Policy 2020-2050, which went through last year.

Keen to see competition to bring down costs, it sets out the island’s aspirations and provides direction to the energy market for long-term planning and investment.

There is guidance on the transition to decarbonisation and increased electrification for consumers.

It also aims to ensure that Guernsey keeps up to date with global decarbonisation trends, regulations, technologies, industry practices and innovation.

Within this, GEL has been given the responsibility to provide a secure and reliable supply of electricity for the island, with appropriate back-up or standby measures that ensure energy security.

‘The policy propositions also deal specifically with the continuity of current licensing arrangements if a revised framework as outlined in the policy is not in place before the expiry dates,’ continued the spokesperson.

‘Any revised licensing framework, which would follow a technical consultation, is focused on creating targeted competition to support on-island, including offshore, renewable energy generation.’

Environment & Infrastructure would be the committee to look into the options of generating renewable energy locally, with directions to begin a consultation on a licensing framework for targeted competition.

The States Trading & Supervisory Board, which carries out the States’ role as shareholder in Guernsey Electricity, had raised concerns over the plans and whether there would be enough competition to balance the costs of regulation that would be required to allow a competitive market.

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