THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Another successful year for Belfast electricity undertaking

From the News Letter, May 26, 1926

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 1:29 pm
Two teams of Northern Ireland men were happy to be back in rainy Belfast in December 1988 after helping to light up a sunny Caribbean island. The men, from Londonderry, Ballymena, Bangor and Craigavon, had just returned from Jamaica after working for three months helping to restore the island's electricity supply which had been wrecked by hurricane Gilbert in September 1988. The 21 linesmen, engineers, foremen and supervisors from the Northern Ireland Electricity Service were part of a 90-strong British emergency team who, with teams from Canada and the United States, brought smiles back to the islanders. Pictured is linesman Alan Hunt from Londonderry who tinkles on the ivories at a party in a Belfast hotel for the Northern Ireland workers who had returned from Jamaica. Picture: Trevor Dickson/News Letter archives

“It cannot now be said that the cost of electrical energy in Belfast stands in the way of use. A comparison with the charges in other centres will illustrate this, and it will be found that Belfast is not less favourably situated, all things considered,” remarked Mr Johnston Wright, the city electrical engineer and manager, when he addressed the Electricity Committee of the City Corporation this week in 1926.

He had been called before the committee to give details of the past year’s figures for the Belfast Electricity Department.

He revealed that in the year ended March 31, 1926 that the net profit for the department had been £62,401, 15s with the gross profit being £211,286 6s 2d.

Mr Wright went on to detail how in the past year the number of units which had been sold 45,086,797.

The large increase in the number of units sold, stated Mr Wright, due to the increase in general lighting throughout the city and an increase in number of units being used by the shipyards.

Indeed he went on to boast that the number of units used by the shipyards could have been much greater had it not been for the fact that the shipyards had had a poor year.

But he did concede that Belfast still lagged behind other cities in Great Britain with regards to the use of electrical energy per head but he was certain that the city would soon catch up. Mr Wright went on to praise the forward thinking of the corporation.

He said: “The potential possibilities in Belfast are very great indeed. Development is bound to continue and the committee run no risk in their progressive view of keeping ahead of the community needs.”