Sark electricity crisis: Island developing contingency plans

image captionSark Electricity generates its power by burning diesel on four generators in an old coal store

People in Sark are planning for life without electricity after the Channel Island's power provider said it would close at the end of the month.

Sark Electricity suggested the island's 500 residents would be forced to leave, but the island's government has insisted there will be no evacuation.

Chief Pleas said it was developing contingency plans, which will see power shared among islanders.

William Raymond said it was "a bit of a wartime mentality".

"The letter that went round to everybody said that everybody would have to leave the island, and the Germans didn't manage that," the deputy chairman of Sark's Policy and Finance Committee added.

"The island is really coming together, the community is coming together and everybody is cooperating together and working out how we can best get over this problem."

In a letter sent to customers last week, Sark Electricity said it could no longer afford to provide power to its customers after it was forced to lower its prices.

The cash-strapped utility company's managing director said he had "no option" but to turn off the power to 300 homes at the end of November, sparking a possible evacuation.

Chief Pleas said it was still considering purchasing Sark's utility but in the meantime it was developing "fairly sophisticated" contingency plans, although Mr Raymond would not elaborate on them.

He did, however, say they included power sharing by islanders capable of self-generation, and allowing vulnerable residents to move to buildings with independent power sources.

Neighbouring Guernsey has also offered assistance.

The Channel Islands were occupied by Nazi Germany during World War Two, with many Sark residents opting to stay under German rule rather than evacuate to the UK mainland.

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