Saba Commemorates 50 years of 24-hour Electricity

Employees of Saba Electric Company back in the day. Photo from the archive of Mr. Will Johnson.

The Bottom, Saba- While it may be hard to imagine nowadays, Saba has only had 24-hour per day electricity since Christmas Eve 1970.

In commemoration of this historic fact, a short film was produced to highlight the life of Sabans before and after the introduction of 24-hour electricity.

The film can be viewed on the Saba Electric Company NV’s (SEC) Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/PowerUpSaba. As well the traditional Christmas home lightening competition, for which 20 plus participants having signed up, was reintroduced to celebrate this golden jubilee.

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve of 1970, electricity pioneer and founder of the Saba Electric Company NV, the late Mr. Elmer Linzey and his team successfully completed the tedious job of powering up Saba.

Prior to this date electricity was provided between 6:00pm and 12:00am, so it was lights out at midnight until the next day. The Saba Electric Company NV was the brainchild of Sabans, Ms. Atthello M. Edwards and her nephews Mr. Elmer Linzey and Mr. Albert Linzey, who in 1962 founded the company.

The Saba Electric Company NV was later sold in 1968 to NV GEBE a limited liability company, founded in 1960 and financed on an equal basis by the Federal Government, and the established electricity power company OGEM, with the purpose to serve St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, and Saba with electricity.Later the Federal Government purchased the remaining shares of OGEM, and NV GEBE became 100% owned by the Federal Government. It was decided in 2005 that the shares of NV GEBE would be transferred to the island territories of St. Maarten, St Eustatius, and Saba.

At that time, the parties could not reach a decision on the division of the shares and a shareholding foundation was incorporated,until a decision could be reached. A decision was finally made in October of 2011 on St. Eustatius. A MOU was agreed upon and signed between the former Minister Theo Heyliger of St. Maarten, former Commissioner Chris Johnson of Saba, and the former Commissioner Koos Sneek of St. Eustatius.


It was decided that provisions would be made to guarantee each island would have its own electricity company by January 1st, 2014.The Saba Electric Company NV was brought back into operation as a standalone electric company for Saba.

Since then, the company has transitioned into an exemplary energy provider in the region, which its founders would be proud of. “It is only fitting when commemorating an occasion like this, that the visionaries and pioneers are recognized for laying the groundwork for what many of us take for granted today.

Many sacrifices where made in those early days, and still are today, so that we could share the pleasures of having electricity,” said Mr. Charles D. Johnson, President Director of SEC.“These electrical pioneers and the many treasured former employees of SEC laid the groundwork under some very hard and sometimes impossible conditions.


The days of the kerosene refrigerators, lamps, coal pots, the ironing goose and scrubbing boards has long past, which many of the new generation know little of,” says former politician Will Johnson.

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