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AEL in £114,000 over charging error

Posted Tue 16th July 2013 at 12:17

CORRECTING a clerical error which led to Alderney's electricity company overcharging the States of Guernsey by more than £100,000, is likely to see the island's electricity bills rise, the company's chairman confirmed.

But Mike Richards, chairman of the Alderney Electricity Ltd board, said the company would never have told the public about the overspend if it had not involved Guernsey States, as in this case.

From 2006 to 2012 AEL had charged Alderney Airport for power both monthly and quarterly over the six year period, and absorbed the extra £114,000.

Now the company is in discussions with Treasury and Resources over how the money can be paid back over the next seven months.

'I can't say people in Alderney are not going to see it on their bills,' said Mr Richards. 'What has happened is that bills have been lower than they might otherwise have been, because we were getting income that we should not have.'

He said AEL would do its best to avoid a sudden increase.

'We will have to talk to our bank about it,' he said. 'We will try to spread the cost over a period of time to keep the impact on tariffs to a minimum.'

He said the overcharging first came to the attention of the board on May 10th, eight days after their AGM.

The paper trail they followed indicated the mistake was made in the billing office.

Monthly entries for Alderney Airport were being made and billed for, as was usual for high volume customers. In 2006, when Guernsey's Public Services Department was installing additional lighting to the airfield and a new meter was installed, a quarterly entry appeared, and over the course of six years a quarterly and monthly meter book reading was entered.

But Mr Richards insisted that it was a clerical rather than mechanical fault.

'It wasn't a case of a faulty meter,' he said. 'The reading got into the quarterly book as well as the monthly book and that generated a second bill.'

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