From its initial start as private/public autonomous and individual producers of electricity, the government owned public electricity supply was established in the 1950’s. At that time, the BVI’s main source of electricity was produced by one 20 KW generator, which provided six hours of service per day and supplied 63 consumers between Government house and the Methodist church cemetery.
Between 1950 and 1970, Electricity expanded on two fronts. The generating Station at Long Bush was built and expanded from an initial three 60KW units supplying 18 hours of service per day, to 210 customers of the Road Town area, to 3 medium speed 1.2MW generators and a 13.2KV bus bar system. By the end of the 1970’s, service had been extended to East End / Long Look as well as the following residential areas: Cane Garden Bay, Harrigans Estate, Frenchman’s Cay, Beef Island, West End, Zion Hill, Paraquita Bay, Sophie Bay, Hodges Creek, Doty, Ballast Bay, Green Banks, Ridge Road, Brewers Bay, Little Dix and Pleasant Valley.
Between 1970 and 1990 the Corporation continued to expand its generating capacity in order to meet the growing demand of its customers. From the initial 3 – 1.2 MW sets that were installed at Long Bush in 1970, the Corporation added an additional 12 generating sets over the two decades.
By the end of the 1980’s, The Corporation had expanded in the following ways:
- The distribution network was extended throughout the territory and included Submarine links to Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke, as well as a Power Station on Anegada offering 24 hours service.
- The company went from a department under the direction of Government to an autonomous statutory body. This was completed on May 23, 1979 when the Government Electricity Department was changed to the British Virgin Islands Electricity Corporation. The following were of importance:
- The purchase of the Pockwood Pond site for the building of a new Power Station in 1986.
- The signing of the various letters of acceptance for the Pockwood Pond Project in 1988 at the offices of Kennedy and Donkin – the consultant’s offices in the United Kingdom.
- The total number of active consumers jumped from 1,829 in 1970 to 6,347 at the end of 1989.
The major setbacks during the two-decades were:
- Two 1MW sets were purchased to meet the ongoing demand but, unfortunately, were lost at sea.
- In 1985 Tropical Storm Klause, and in 1989 Hurricane Hugo caused considerable damage to the distribution system and caused the cost of insurance to skyrocket.
- The delays in completing the Pockwood Power Plant and the unexpected growth led to load shedding as the Corporation tried to keep pace with demand.