29 April 2020
The following response to a Jersey Gas statement has been issued today:
The Government of Jersey is aware of the proposed increase to local gas prices of 6.5%, following the publication of a press release from Jersey Gas this morning. The company alleges that they are unable to access government support for their business, its customers and its staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ministers have expressed disappointment that Jersey Gas continue to conduct discussions on financial support through the media rather than directly with the Government.
Jersey Gas has chosen not to provide Government with vital financial information on their business and their parent company, which has been requested on multiple occasions. This information is a necessity to progress any applications for government support during this crisis.
Jersey Gas is owned by Isle of Man based International Energy Group, which is in turn owned by a private equity fund. Before committing taxpayer support, the Government needs to understand what investor or lender support has already been sought by IEG and its owners, and why Jersey Gas does not have access to sufficient working capital of its own. This information has also not been received from Jersey Gas.
The Minister for Economic Development, Senator Lyndon Farnham, commented: “The overarching aims of our government support schemes are to ensure businesses do not close, Islanders continue to remain employed, and can maintain their livelihoods. I ask Jersey Gas to engage constructively with Government and to show transparency of financial information and transactions, so a full and considered response can be provided to them as soon as possible. I would urge Jersey Gas not to follow through with the planned increase while discussions are taking place.
“A price increase of this magnitude comes at a time when many Islanders are experiencing financial insecurity and is particularly insensitive. I am not prepared to see islanders suffer added hardship during this difficult time and will consider all steps available to Government – including those provided for under the Jersey Gas Company (Jersey) Law 1989 – to see that Jersey Gas acts appropriately towards all of its stakeholders."