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Decision Due On How To Restore Gas

As 4,500 homes and businesses wait to hear when their gas supply will be restored, Island Energy's CEO tells Channel 103 the 'worst-case scenario' could take 'weeks'.

Jo Cox, CEO of Island Energy, says officials are risk-assessing whether customers can safely turn their own supply back on, or if an engineer will need to visit every property.

"We've got Scenario A, which is we self-restore.

If we can get comfortable - and we have got a third party in the UK double checking our homework - if we are comfortable that is the right route, everybody will self-restore on Tuesday.

If, however, we believe that it is more important that an engineer visits every home to get us comfortable that no one has left the cooker on, then that is the part that will take weeks, because we have to visit every single individual home.

I am preparing for the worst-case scenario, so we have flown in lots of engineers and I have brought in a third party engineer firm who are ready to go if we have to go the long route.

We are modelling out the two scenarios and working with stakeholders to make sure everybody is comfortable with the recommendation.

We will make a decision on that today."

Ms Cox described it as 'really big decision' and said independent expert advisers have been brought in, DMB and QEM, who have previously advised UK suppliers who have gone through a similar situation.

The group has brought in its engineers Guernsey and the Isle of Man, as well as ten third-party UK engineers.

The island-wide gas outage began on Saturday morning.

A 'rogue code' caused the three control panels at the plant to shutdown.

"The minute the plant starts to lose pressure, you risk air getting into the system.  So it did it's job and shut the whole thing down."

What we will do once we have restored supply is to work with our suppliers to understand where that code came from, how it got there, why it occurred and why it was allowed to shut down all three (panels) at the same time  - because that is not supposed to happen."

Around 400 businesses on gas are affected, including restaurants that have been forced to close because they don't have cooking facilities.

Ms Cox says the firm will speak to them individually about compensation.

"We have insurance for things like this.  We have engaged with our insurers and they are assisting us.

We will get to that.  I am sure they (businesses) have insurance too, but it is really important that we understand how they have been affected, what was the impact on their business, and we will be speaking to them individually."

Gas customers were asked to turn off their gas appliances and to turn off the Low Pressure Control Value at the meter.

Asked for her message to customers, Ms Cox said:

"Your home is safe,  If you can turn that valve - if you're comfortable to do that  -if we have to go Scenario B which is to visit every single home, it speeds up that process.

We will be communicating on Tuesday whether you open that valve, or  whether you keep the valve closed and wait for an engineer visit."

Jersey's government said Ministers and officials are in 'close contact' with Island Energy and they urged islanders to check on vulnerable relatives and neighbours:

All government buildings, including schools, hospitals, sports facilities, and care homes, will remain open as normal. There may be minor but manageable disruption to hot water and heating supplies in some buildings.

Please call the Island Energy helpline if you are concerned for a neighbour or friend on 01534 755500.

Island Energy has published a Q&A to answer questions on safety and procedures "

The swimming pool at Aquasplash is closed because of the lack of gas.

The Old Court House in St Aubin was offering the community use of its showers.


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