Thursday, 18 January 2018

Cheaper Petrol could be on the way

The JEP reported recently on petrol pricing, and the recent victory in Court by ATF Fuels over the cost of aviation fuel.

On petrol prices, they note:

"Prices in Jersey have followed a similar pattern to those in the UK, with an increase since the beginning of December. The lowest petrol price in the Island, according to the Consumer Council’s Fuel Watch, is currently 107.9p per litre and is available at M&S in St John, St Peter and Motormall."

The decision by Ports of Jersey not to renew the lease on the Airport Garage, and instead have Roberts Garage take over the site, means yet another source of cheaper fuel has been lost.

ATF are planning on entering this market, with lower prices and hence more competition. It will be recalled they wanted to tender for the fuel farm lease at La Collette Terminal (“LCT”) which was rushes through with no tendering process and no change for Scrutiny because it had expired in January and no one had noticed or flagged it up - a failing by the Civil Service or by the Minister or both.

The story can be read here:

Meanwhile, Jonathan Best, ATF chief operating officer, has contacted me with this message, which I think is also worth sharing on both the Court case and petrol competition.

Message from Jonathan Best:

I’m the COO of ATF Fuels, and I’m aware that you facilitate very useful debate on issues in Jersey, and I wondered if you were considering posting something regarding the The Royal Court’s recent ruling to set aside the decision by the Jersey Competition Regulation Authority? 

The regulator had falsely claimed that ATF had abused our position in marketplace in relation to the supply of aviation fuel. Beyond overturning the decision, the full judgement from Royal Court commended our approach that has ensured fairer, lower and more transparent pricing in the Channel Islands and for providing better quality fuel. 

Below is a quote directly from he judgement: 

"In deciding which evidence we considered to be most significant in relation to this appeal, it is right to say that we have given some weight to the fact that fuel prices at Jersey Airport have dropped considerably during the relevant period since the ATF Fuels commenced trading… "

"Customers purchasing aviation fuel obtained a considerably better deal than they were getting from Fuel Supplies / Rubis and ABP in the years before the ATF Fuels started its business…we think it is right to give credit to ATF for the significant impact which its business has had on aviation fuel prices in the Island since it started business." 

"In giving that credit, we record also that we were told – and this was not contested by the JCRA – that the quality of aviation fuel now supplied is an improvement on what was available previously." 

To explain a little further, if the original decision by the regulator had been enforced, it would have required us to engage in trading at the airport in the way that previous suppliers Rubis and Aviation Beauport used to. 

Ethically this was not something we would have been willing to do. It would also have meant, that we would have had to put the cost of aviation fuel up for our customers. This would have impacted our whole business, and meant that we would have had to put prices up for home heating oil as well. 

This would have gone against everything we are trying to achieve - since we started trading we have successfully brought prices down not only in aviation fuel, but also in other markets such as home heating oil. 

We know that this makes a real difference to people’s weekly budgets and the affordability of living in Jersey. 

We are also soon going to be opening a forecourt and entering the petrol market,(where again we will commit to having the lowest prices), and we are concerned that we may face unfair opposition to competition there too. 

We are hoping that if enough people pay attention to this recent ruling on aviation fuel, that the government will consider investigating the regulator and seriously investigating how they are approaching their decision-making process, and what the real purpose of the organisation is. 

I personally would be very happy to reply on your page to any questions people may have. I think it’s really important that this issues with fair competition in Jersey get highlighted, as it impacts all of us.

The forecourt will be at Augres Garage - La Route de la Trinite.

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