Guernsey

Sark electricity among 'most expensive' in world

Stars above The Avenue in Sark Image copyright Sue Daly
Image caption The island's sole electricity supplier and government have been involved in a long-running dispute over pricing

The cost of electricity on Sark is set to rise by 29%, putting it among the most expensive places in the world.

Sark Electricity's owner David Gordon-Brown announced in a letter to customers they will have to pay 85p/kWh, up from 66p.

The average price of electricity in the UK is approximately 17p/kWh.

The rise is the latest development in an ongoing dispute over the cost of electricity, which nearly resulted in the power being shut off in 2018.

The island's 500 residents avoided losing electricity after a price control order capped the cost at 52p and the company said it would be forced to end supply.

The island's government struck a deal to keep selling at the previous rate of 66p until they could buy the company.

'Ridiculous and painful'

Mr Gordon-Brown blamed the rises on the legal costs generated by the dispute, claiming that the price control efforts had been used as a means of bankrupting the company.

He said that the company was staying afloat based on £60,000 of investment from shareholders since January.

"As many of my customers are much richer than my shareholders, we cannot continue this 'reversed Robin Hood' situation," he added.

Mr Gordon-Brown acknowledged the price was "clearly ridiculous and will be very painful for many", proposing a meeting in November "let everyone have their say".

Sam La Trobe-Bateman, the chair of Sark's Policy and Finance Committee, said the rise was "potentially crippling" for residents.

He said they were working to establish a price for Sark Electricity, but claimed they had failed to supply sufficient information to them.

Mr La Trobe-Bateman said his committee had convened an emergency meeting to discuss solutions.

"[Sark] needs electricity to pump water, we need it for heating, for lighting. I think we're in a bit of a pickle", he added.

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