In 1947 the Chief Pleas of Sark (Sark's Parliament) advertised for someone to start an electricity supply system on Sark.
After reviewing all the applications, Mr Robson's proposal was ultimately chosen. With the permission of the Dame of Sark, he started by installing the first generator, an army surplus searchlight generator.
In 1948 the first two customers were connected. At this time, there were a number of private generating systems which started to be replaced by "Robbie's electric". By Christmas 1949 the company had 55 customers and was expanding rapidly. Initially a 240v DC system, it was converted to AC in 1960.
Bringing AC to the island also brought the opportunity to own a television, as in the 1950s DC powered televisions were not available. This brought the rest of the world into the island's sitting rooms and with it the power of advertising to encourage modern consumerism, which in turn generated an increased need for electricity to run the toasters, kettles and sewing machines that started to appear on the island.
In fact, the major driving force for the installation of power into many island homes was the appearance of TV. Other uses for 'the electric' were not considered important. The story is still told of one island resident who summoned the company's staff to come and install 'the electric'.
"I just want one plug, You can put it over there on the wall. For the television."
"Just a single plug? While we're here, wouldn't you want electric light too?"
"Oh, I suppose so. Just one though. Put it over the kitchen table so the wife can see to fill the oil lamps".
Change of Ownership
Originally called "Robson Electric Supply Company" by the founder Malcolm Robson, it was taken over in 1969 by Tim Gordon Brown and was renamed The Sark Electric Supply Company. In 1997 it was formed into a limited company, the 'Sark Electricity Company Limited' (often shortened to SEL).