Mid 2000 to the Present Day
At the start of the new century Guernsey Electricity was looking forward to completing the cable link project with Jersey and France and becoming a commercial company. The first of these landmarks was achieved during November 2000 when the company took its first units of electricity from the European Grid.
A large office and commercial development at Admirals Park on the east coast of Guernsey during 2001 meant that a new primary substation was constructed adjacent to the Checkers building. This forms the centre of the distribution network for this area. Several kilometres of cable were laid for this major development. In September 2001 alone, a total of 1740 metres of high voltage cable was installed.
The year 2002 was a landmark year for Guernsey Electricity. On the 1st February 2002 we became a commercialised States Trading Company operating under the Electricity (Guernsey) Law 2001. The commercialisation model sets a framework under which the States of Guernsey approves the laws, regulations and guidelines under which we operate, and the Advisory and Finance Committee have the role of shareholder. Also as part of this change process the Company is subject to the regulation of core business by the Office of Utility Regulation (OUR). The first Chairman of the newly commercialised company is Mr Ken Gregson.
|Ken Gregson - Chairman|
We also launched our service standards initiative at the time of commercialisation. These standards challenge the company to achieve or exceed planned levels of service. The standards cover the maintenance of electricity supplies and issues surrounding the metering and billing of electricity.
After the successful changeover in status on 1st February 2002, we have continued to introduce changes throughout the year. Our overriding objective has been to continue to provide the island community with a reliable electricity supply at the most economic cost, consistent with meeting future demand, whilst also providing a financial return to the community on the investment which it has made in the assets which are employed in the company’s operations.
A key feature in achieving our goals is the adoption of sound commercial practice in all areas of our business. We also seek to establish a culture of corporate governance of the highest standard. Upon changeover, the Board introduced two committees, Audit&Risk and Remuneration&Nominations; each of which are composed entirely of non-executive board members. These two bodies have undertaken much valuable work during the year.
2002 was also a year of significant technical developments. A major cable-laying project between Kings Mills and Sausmarez Park was finished during this year. This project completed a strong 11,000 volt distribution link from the Power Station through to L’Eclet in St. Saviours. A new primary 11,000 volt substation was also built within the office block development in the Bordage, replacing an installation that was removed when Tudor House was demolished. The increased use of electricity imported over the cable link lead to significant changes at the power station. The steel chimney servicing B Station was removed and the generators that used it were all decommissioned. The cooling towers for these engines were also demolished.
The following year in 2003 Guernsey Electricity achieved a new max demand record. On the 7th January 70 MW of power was supplied to island customers.
Another significant achievement was the development of a new 33,000 volt bulk supply point at Belgrave. This came into service around mid-summer of this year.
The installation and subsequent operation of the link to the European Grid has been extremely successful. The planned benefits including security of supply, reliability, price stability and environmental improvements have all been to the considerable advantage of the Island. Guernsey’s infrastructure has been enhanced and in the financial year ended 31 March 2003 83% of our electricity has been imported through the link.
During November 2003 there was the first meeting of an electricity User Council in Guernsey. The User Council offers a forum for obtaining and representing the views of electricity customers.
By the end of 2003 the company was well advanced in trialling electricity meters with two-way communication. We have installed approximately 1,000 communicating meters into customers’ premises. The meters use a combination of electricity cabling and telecommunication interfaces to provide information about electricity used without the need for conventional meter reading. It is expected that these meters will result in an improvement in customer services and remove the need for estimated readings and routine access to customer’s premises for reading purposes.