Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Economy
Members will be aware Baglan Operations Limited (‘BOL’) and the Baglan group of companies entered compulsory liquidation on 24 March 2021. An Official Receiver from the UK Government’s Insolvency Service was appointed as the liquidator and has been carrying out statutory duties to ensure a safe wind-down of BOL’s operations. These have included ongoing provision of the sole electricity supply to Baglan Energy Park via a private wire network linked to the now-closed Baglan energy plant.
The Welsh Government continues to work with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, and is supporting Western Power Distribution to deploy new infrastructure to all customers of the Power Station as quickly as possible by providing practical and financial support to help businesses secure their new connection to the grid. WPD are working at pace and due to complete significantly ahead of schedule, with the majority of customers expected to have their new connection in place by the end of May 2022.
Further to my written statement of 19th January 2022, and having pursued all other options, Welsh Government, Dŵr Cymru, Neath Port Talbot Council, together with the largest company on the Energy Park, Sofidel, issued legal proceedings to seek to prevent the Official Receiver from discontinuing the private wire network, pending the longer-term solution being implemented. The judgment in those proceedings has now been handed down. Whilst the judge dismissed the applications, he did direct that the power supply to the private wire network should be maintained until 18th April 2022 for Dwr Cymru and Neath and Port Talbot Council. The Court Order, received today, directs that the power supply to Sofidel and other customers at the park (apart from DCC and NPTC) should be maintained until at least the 4th April 2022.
This 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.
In parallel, I have served proceedings for Judicial Review on the Secretary of State for BEIS as I continue to believe BEIS do have the powers to intervene to ensure continuity of supply for the benefit of the citizens and businesses in the Baglan Bay area.
The Welsh Government is mindful of the stress and uncertainty that customers of the Energy Park have experienced as a result of this ongoing issue. We will continue to work with Neath Port Talbot County Council, Dwr Cymru and all relevant parties to seek to secure a solution to the very significant risks of public health and environmental harm including increased flood risk (as well as the risks to the local economy) the termination of the private wire energy supply would create for businesses and citizens in Baglan ahead of the new distribution network being in place.