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Welsh Government to bring judicial review challenge in bid to secure continuity of supply from energy park

Wales’ Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething, has served notice of judicial review on the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng over whether his department should intervene to keep open a bankrupt power station in south Wales.

Mr Gething said Baglan Operations entered compulsory liquidation in March 2021 and an Official Receiver was appointed by the Insolvency Service.

Provision for a safe wind-down included continued provision of power to businesses in Baglan Energy Park via a private wire network which makes it the sole electricity supplier there.

He said the Welsh Government was working with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Welsh Water to deploy new infrastructure to customers of the Baglan power station and expected this to be in place by the end of May. 

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The Welsh Government, Welsh Water, the council and local paper manufacturer Sofidel issued legal proceedings to seek to prevent the Official Receiver from discontinuing the electricity supply before other arrangements were in hand, but this was dismissed by the High Court in Counsel General for Wales & Ors v Allen & Ors [2022] EWHC 647 (Ch).

Judge Sir Alastair Norris did though direct that the power supply should be maintained until 18 April.

He said the Official Receiver was not required to supply power indefinitely from a concern that no longer had any funds with which to run a power station and the users should have made alternative arrangements once the original power station operator entered liquidation.

Mr Gething said 18 April “would clearly be some weeks ahead of the provision of the new power network arrangements for all customers.

“My officials and I are considering the judgement, and are considering Welsh Government’s position with regards to a possible appeal.”

The High Court case was taken against Official Receiver Gareth Allen and his colleagues David Pike and Mike Pink.

Mark Smulian

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