Gas campaigner Barry Murphy has a launched a petition calling for the establishment of a select committee to investigate the previous gov’s handling of 2018 NERA gas report.
Mr Murphy, a taxi driver and member of Michael Commissioners, has long been a campaigner for fairer gas prices for island residents.
In 2016 Howard Quayle set up a Government Gas Committee, with Chris Thomas MHK as Chair, to investigate particular issues with standing charges and the pricing of gas. There was much discontentment at the time from 2016 till approximately 2019, leading to various protests and marches outside Tynwald and outside Manx Gas’s HQ.
Mr Murphy’s petition says: ‘To this present day, namely Wednesday October 13 2021 the fallout of the 2015 gas agreement has still not been satisfactorily resolved in the opinion of the signees, with particular reference and attention to promised repayments for domestic customers for the 2020 and 2021 period respectively. Gas customers were led to believe that these repayments/refunds were to be split between Treasury and Manx Gas and repaid in early 2021. The amounts were approximately £100 for each of the two years amounting to a total of approximately £200.
‘We can only assume as gas customers, that these refunds were promised because of a finding in the NERA Report published in 2018, as a result of consultations by interested parties, including the IOM GAS CUSTOMERS WORKING GROUP of which I am sole administrator, that the 9.99% guaranteed return on capital employed for Manx Gas was too high and needed urgent attention or resolution. Since then Manx Gas promised a refund, but stated by letter in late 2020, that they would only pay a refund/rebate if another voluntary deal was signed, but would not pay if an imposed regulatory route was followed including implementation of an independent regulator.’
‘A voluntary deal was not signed before the deadline Tynwald date of 31/12/2020 and an imposed regulatory route was started following much dither and delay trying to reach another voluntary deal in 2020. The Government has so far gone quiet on its part of the promise of a rebate also, although it is hoped that the reason for silence is only because of the 2021 election campaign and lockdown periods also.’
He goes on to say that a committee is needed to ‘investigate how everything went so badly wrong and is always the case when things do go wrong, only the consumer loses out’. Mr Murphy adds: ‘Secondly and more importantly to investigate what was agreed or possibly signed between Government/Cabinet Office and Manx Gas with regards to ROCE. Please also publish clearly why and if Manx Gas were entitled to set a restriction that a refund/repayment would only be made if another voluntary deal was signed.’
You can see and/or sign this petition by clicking here.