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Gas Prices Set To Go Up Again

Gas customers in Jersey are facing another price hike.

Wholesale gas prices have soared in recent weeks, leading some energy firms to collapse and fears that others will follow.

The Islands Energy Group, which owns Jersey Gas, says the 'current volatility' has led to emergency talks - which will likely lead to price rises in Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man.

"The price of wholesale gas has risen considerably and many suppliers are dealing with the impact of this. We have seen a 90% increase in our costs through the last year and therefore are in emergency discussions to review our current pricing across the three islands we supply as a result.

"These discussions are likely to result in price increases in all islands. We will inform our customers as soon as possible once we have confirmed what this will be.

"Energy markets are subject to a variety of complex influences and there have been a significant number of events across the world in recent times, such as Brexit, Covid, storms across America, and unpredictable weather globally.  It isn’t possible to pinpoint one specific thing that has caused the cost of supplying gas to increase, but all these things have combined to affect supply chains, increasing the cost of many things that are crucial to the supply of gas.

"We understand that news of price increases for customers can cause concern and we would like to remind our customers that they can sign up for our Priority Customer Care service if they would like to discuss any additional support that we are able to give them. Our team can be reached on 755577." - Jo Cox, CEO of the Islands Energy Group.

Oil & Gas UK has reported wholesale gas prices going up by 250% since the start of 2021 and by 70% since August.

The UK's biggest CO2 supplier 'CF Industries' has been affected and has now resumed operations after reaching a deal with the UK government.

Jersey Gas prices went up by 6.5% in May 2020 after a dispute with the government over financial support during the pandemic.

Former CEO Ian Plenderleith said the company 'had no other choice' because no support had been offered and because of the dip in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

He added that it would be 'temporary, until such time as the full economic impact of the pandemic is more accurately known.'

Despite Economic Development Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham calling that increase 'particularly insensitive' and urging Jersey Gas not to follow through with the increase, it came into effect.

After calls for the company to clarify the position on prices going forward, Jersey Gas told Channel 103 last month that it would remain in force because of high supply costs and because demand 'still isn't where it was'.

It's not known exactly what the latest price increase will be, but Channel 103 has been told that more details should follow 'within the next 48 hours or so'.

Jersey Consumer Council Chairman Carl Walker has described this news as 'a real blow for consumers'.

"We are really quite worried that it would appear these costs are being immediately passed on to consumers here at a time of year when we are about to enter winter and islanders should certainly not have to put the cost of their heating before the cost of their health and that's what we fear might start happening.

"What we're hearing coming from Jersey Gas suggests that whatever rise is going to be significant and you would expect it to absorb now this 6.5% increase and that will no longer be temporary either. It's a real blow."

He's called on the government to step in to help customers who will struggle with this increase.

"Whether that's in the form of relief or financial assistance for Jersey Gas or whether it's in the form of some sort of emergency winter fuel bonus or an increased allowance for those that qualify already just to allow at least people to get through the winter.

"I'm sure some people may start thinking about putting the heating on or may have done on the odd chilly evening and the timing is just appalling really.

"That's out of everybody's hands, but what's needed now is quick action and action that stops islanders putting the cost of heating before their own health."

Channel 103 contacted the Government of Jersey for comment and has received this response;

“We are in regular contact with Jersey Gas to monitor and evaluate the situation, and will shortly know the full impact of the global price increases on local gas prices.

Government’s priority is to ensure that vulnerable people are supported through the colder months, and to maintain a stability in our energy market.

We will continue to work with Jersey Gas to ensure suitable mechanisms to help customers are in place.”

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