Guernsey Press

Electricity 'merger' floated as P&R looks to explore Jersey collaboration

A ‘merger’ between Guernsey and Jersey Electricity could be discussed by the States next week.

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(Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 32478256)

States Treasury lead Mark Helyar will ask deputies to back a review of the benefits of closer working between Guernsey and Jersey – including the possibility of establishing a single Channel Islands electricity company.

His amendment, a draft of which has been seen by the Guernsey Press, should be discussed when deputies debate a draft electricity strategy proposed by Environment & Infrastructure.

‘The problem that Guernsey Electricity has is that it doesn’t have sufficient capital to properly create the grid which can be used for renewables, and it also can’t afford to put in the cable it wants to France,’ said Deputy Helyar.

‘If it wants to proceed on the basis of what’s in the electricity strategy, we will need to find a way to fund that.

‘One of the ways of funding that is to create a structure which is similar to Jersey, where the company is part-listed and it raises capital.’

Guernsey Electricity is fully owned by the States. But Jersey’s government only owns 56% of Jersey Electricity.

Tthe remaining shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange, a deal made in the 1960s to fund capital spending.

Deputy Helyar said that his senior political colleagues had already held informal talks with counterparts in Jersey about closer working in the electricity market.

His amendment calls for a review of the benefits of greater collaboration between the companies.

‘This is hopefully the start of exploring collaboration in more of a formal way,’ he said. ‘It is just a request to give the Policy & Resources Committee the mandate to proceed with the work. It is a neutral cost because we will find the resources internally.

‘I hope that just simply asking the question won’t cause too much difficulty for members because, whether people like the idea of privatisation or not, the public deserves for us to investigate ways of making things more efficient, hopefully with cheaper prices at the end.’

If agreed, P&R will commission the review jointly with Jersey and should report back to the States by the end of 2024.