Cultural Artefact: Electricity Supply


When Honiara was established in 1945 the British administration purchased an existing American power plant, which limped along until 1952 when it was close to a total breakdown. Even though this system was only 110 volts, it allowed refrigeration. The electricity supply was quite limited nevertheless, and in early October 1952 residents were given a choice of retaining either their refrigerators or their lights, and the fuse for one was removed. (PIM Nov. 1952)

That year a complete new power station was erected, and two new engines and generators arrived later in the year. This allowed the entire town as far as Kukum to be placed on the 240-volt system. In 1963, a meter system was installed in non-government high-covenant residences and commercial premises, and two hundred metres were in use at the end of 1964. Honiara's power consumption more than doubled in the last half of the 1960s, and it grew by 9 percent in 1970 alone. This necessitated a new source of power, and Lungga Power Station was opened on 6 November 1971, adding four megawatts to the Honiara power grid. It was hoped this would be sufficient for many years to come. (AR 1963-1964, 60)

The British Solomon Islands Electrical Authority was established in January 1969 and provided continuous supplies to several centres, taking over from earlier arrangements. The number of consumers increased rapidly and in 1974 there were: Honiara (2,105), Auki (254), Gizo (228), Kirakira (109) and Tulagi (1). (AR 1974, 91)

Published resources



  • British Solomon Islands Protectorate, British Solomon Islands Protectorate Annual Reports (AR), 1896-1973. Details