28th February 1903

Plans for St Sampson power station approved

Plans for the power station at St Sampson were approved on 28 February 1903. When built, the station would be Guernsey’s second generating facility. It was desperately needed to cope with rising demand.

Guernsey’s first power station first had been constructed at Les Amballes in St Peter Port in 1900. It was an ambitious project, which had brought electric lighting to the town.

Yet within just two years, demand was already outstripping supply. It was obvious something had to be done to supplement the existing facility, so plans were put in place for a second generating site in St Sampson.

The growing need for electricity

Once St Sampson’s power station had been completed, it supplemented, rather than replaced the Les Amballes site. The two stations were linked by cable, and excess supply was stored in batteries. This allowed the generators to be switched off three days a week without subscribers losing the power they needed.

This was an importand consideration for the businesses that ran them. At the time, the electricity operators were still private concerns, so being able to shut down for half the week would help them cut costs. They could reduce the amount of oil they burned without jeopardising the supply, which in turn increased their profits.

Public ownership beckons

Naturally, Guernsey couldn’t allow private enterprise to keep control of such a vital resource as its electricity supply. So, in 1938, when slightly less than 3000 customers had been connected, the States bought them as an island resource.

The station at Les Amballes eventually closed down, and the St Sampson site extended and upgraded. Its operating capacity has grown with the addition of new generators and a whole new hall to house them in. It is supplemented by undersea cables between Guernsey and Jersey. Known as the Channel Islands Electricity Grid these link to France, and provide the majority of the electricity that Guernsey needs day to day.

Copyright in the thumbnail image linked to this post is owned by Colin Smith and
licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


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Other events that occured in February

Mail ship wrecked on Black Rock 1st
Oil rig stranded at Grandes Rocques
Birth of Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann 2nd
Death of Sir Charles Hayward 3rd
St Martin’s parish church consecrated 4th
Guernsey suffers its worst storm in 35 years 5th
Guernsey watchmaker helps Stone of Scone manhunt 6th
Guernsey Language Commission formed 7th
Queen Mary executed while wearing Guernsey stockings 8th
Guernsey gets its first postbox
Guernsey Society celebrates its 70th anniversary 9th
Guernsey’s last execution didn’t go according to plan 10th
The last issue of GUNS was distributed 11th
Alderney gets its first full-time radio station 12th
Guernsey’s last duel 13th
Specsavers’ Mary Perkins was born 14th
Blue Islands takes to the skies
Guernsey gets its own flag 15th
Birth of concrete poet Dom Sylvester Houedard 16th
HMS Guernsey launched in Aberdeen 17th
Guernsey’s first Methodist minister arrives 18th
Aurigny Air Services founded 19th
Guernsey Railway Company runs its first services 20th
The Channel Islands were cut off from the outside world 21st
St Sampson was ordained a bishop 22nd
Death of Thomas Fiott de Havilland 23rd
Murder inquiry ends with suicide 24th
Death of occupation resister Marie Ozanne 25th
Guernsey’s first banker dies 26th
Release of Reverend Harry Samuel 27th
Plans for St Sampson power station approved 28th
Second World War bomb detonated 29th