On May 25, 1931, electricity was switched on for the first time in St. Vincent, the capital city, Kingstown; at that time, there were 32 customers on the system.
This historic event followed a series of events commenced in 1930 by the electrical department and the colonial government to bring electricity to the country.
According to the record of events, the construction of the network to deliver the power began on March 22, 1930. On May 20, 1931, the Legislative Council issued a notice of electrification, which said, whereby electricity will commence on May 25, 1931, with the exception to back street and houses on that street, electricity was available to customers during the night, and slowly evolved to a 24-hour service.
The supply of power across the country expanded gradually over time. The establishment of the South Rivers hydropower station in 1952 and the Richmond Hydro Power Station in 1962 brought substantial changes to the country’s landscape because of the availability of electricity in rural communities.
In the initial stages, the Commonwealth Development Corporation, CDC, owned and operated the electricity company.
By 1971 the government acquired 49 percent of the shares of Vinlec from the CDC and became the sole shareholder of the company in 1985, having bought the remaining 51 percent shares; following that period, there was an era of rapid expansion of electricity service across the country.
Other notable milestones in the electricity sector relate to the electrification of the Grenadine Islands of Bequia, 1968, Union Island in 1974, Canaan in 1994, and Myreau in 2003.
The construction and commissioning of the Lowmans bay power plant was another significant milepost on completion of phase one of that project in 2006; the plan provided just over 30 percent of power on the mainland.
Presently, it has seventeen points four megawatts of generating capacity that produced between 60 to 65 percent of the power generated in St.Vincent.
Vinlec’s transmission and distribution network moves electrical power from the power stations to customers. This network consists of switches, breakers substations, insulators, transformers, protection equipment, 26000 poles, 1000 and 65 kilometers of overhead lines, 190 kilometers of underground lines, and nine thousand six hundred streetlights.
Today the company can boast of having hydro and solar renewable forms of energy. Vinlec’s first venture into solar energy was the installing of a system at the Cane Hall location in 2010; that system has since been expanded.
While public electricity was first applied in 1931, the company St Vincent Electricity Services Limited (Vinlec) was registered 60 years ago; on November 27, 2021, Vinlec will celebrate 60 years as a corporate entity.
Throughout the era 1931 to 2021, electricity has been a driving force in the socio-economic development of the country; today, the company has just over 42000 domestic accounts and four thousand eight hundred and sixty-four commercial and industrial accounts.
Approximately 98 percent of the population has access to electricity.