Sark Electricity Ltd – the island’s sole energy provider – is to close on 30 November following a dispute with the government over pricing. In a letter to customers, the company’s boss, David Gordon-Brown, said people would have no option but to leave the island.
But in a statement issued this week, the island’s Seigneur, Major Christopher Beaumont, urged people to work together to help with contingency plans until the government, called Chief Pleas, finds a permanent solution. He said: ‘I write to you regarding the proposed closure of Sark Electricity Ltd by Mr Gordon-Brown. This action would be unacceptable and a threat to the wellbeing of the whole island.
‘Chief Pleas and I are in discussions with our counterparts in Guernsey and the UK to explore all options at our disposal in order to construct comprehensive contingency plans which will resume the supply of electricity to everyone in the island. Thereafter, I judge it vital that the island never again be held to ransom in this manner.’
Generators started arriving in the island this week to power a number of buildings, including a makeshift ‘command centre’ and communal cooking rooms. However, Major Beaumont said that he still expects a loss of power for at least six hours after the general supply is cut.
He has also offered to use his experience in the Army to help the emergency services.
Urging islanders to remain resilient, he said: ‘Mr Gordon-Brown tells us he expects his actions will depopulate the island. I feel sure that where the German Occupation failed, so will he. I certainly have no intention of letting that happen, especially as he is refusing to abide by a fair, independent ruling and Sark law.’
SEL has vowed to close down in response to a price control order imposed earlier this year, which forced it to drop its prices from 66p kWh to 52p kWh.