Sark Electricity has written to customers saying that since June the landowner has been instructing them to disconnect the supply to all properties in the La Tour tenement and to remove all cabling and ancillary equipment.
The firm has no option but to comply with the order, as unlike many other jurisdictions, there is no law giving the electricity company rights to maintain the grid with cables across private land.
In the letter to customers, Sark Electricity director Alan Jackson said: ‘I have strongly resisted what I believe to be an entirely unreasonable request; reaching out to Chief Pleas, the Seigneur and Guernsey’s Government House and the Crown for support in protecting the rights of islanders and securing the supply of electricity.
‘SEL has now received a summons requiring that we remove the equipment forthwith on
a combination of trespass and “nuisance” grounds and health and safety concerns.’
Mr Jackson warned that if the company was forced to negotiate wayleaves with all tenement and freehold owners to secure the underlying grid it would mean 84 separate contractual negotiations at around £175,000 in legal costs, assuming all agreed and did not demand much money in return.
‘The effect of this removal is that 19 residents will be permanently disconnected from the supply of electricity with effect from Monday. I am acutely aware of the distress this will cause, particularly as we move towards the winter months,’ said Mr Jackson.
He has appealed to residents who own diesel generators to come forward and help.
Mr Jackson is also arranging to have emergency generators shipped to Sark.