Our public utilities are Water, Gas, Electricity, Telecoms and Jersey Post. To find out if they are serving Jersey in the best possible way, they all need to be subject to strategic review. We need to see (as for all States departments) short- and long-term goals and checks and balances – overseen by an independent regulator – to ensure these goals are being met/regularly reviewed.
It is of critical importance that in a small isolated island community we have, and maintain, security of supply of all the key utilities. However, the supply of clean, safe water is at risk; for example, we have had several incidents where the JNWW has had to take reservoirs offline because of contamination. The main cause of contamination is agricultural chemical runoff, and I speak more on this in my section on the environment.
In addition, we need a long-term, safe source of electricity to power the desalination plant – possibly a dedicated geothermal plant? In terms of gas supply, there have been huge advances in hydrogen technology in recent years, so we must as Jersey Gas to present a public Report on the future long- term prospects for the Island and to outline where the States can help.
Jersey Electricity is doing a good job; however, they need to invest a proportion of the dividends into the development of sustainable and renewable energy, and to adapt and adopt renewable sources into the grid.
Telecoms: more clarity is needed about the exact composition of JT and its overseas operations: it may well be that after review it is decided to split certain functions. However, the infrastructure must remain in public ownership regardless of what happens to operational and overseas sections.
Jersey Post, despite the general decline in the use of letter post, appear to be doing well, and the ‘Call & Check’ initiative is fantastic. Do they need any help?
All these services should be asked to open dialogues with their opposite numbers in the other Islands and to look at future mutual assistance and co-operation.