Bringing power to the people for 90 years
Eastland Network’s job is to keep the power on so that Gisborne, Wairoa and the East Coast can shine brightly, and on 1 November we’re celebrating 90 years of doing just that!
The license to supply electricity in the Poverty Bay district was issued on 1 November 1926, but Gisborne actually got power 14 years earlier.
On 20 March 1912, the Gisborne Borough Council commenced supply to the township from diesel generators located in Carnarvon Street – illuminating 12 street lamps in Gladstone Road, between Roebuck Road and Kaiti Bridge. This first power supply happened well before the Poverty Bay Power Board district was constituted on 14 December 1923. At that time the Power Board district comprised a total area of 1735 square miles. The Board’s function was to supply power to the district, and its first task was to plan for reticulation outside the Gisborne town boundary.
In 1927, the electricity price was three pence for the first 20 units per month, two pence for the next 40 units and 1.5 pence for every unit over 60 units per month. Decimal currency was introduced to New Zealand in 1967. Until then, the New Zealand pound was divided into twenty shillings or 240 pennies. One unit of electricity is equivalent to one kilowatt hour.
The power prices from 1927 sound cheap, however what you bought for one pound in 1912 would cost $163 today. In 2016, an average household uses about 600 kilowatt hours each month. On that basis if you paid the same for electricity then as you do now, your monthly bill would have been $645.
The number of customers connected has grown from 4,000 in Gisborne and the East Coast in 1930, to about 21,000 in 2016. Today, Eastland Network also supplies electricity to a further 5,000 customers in Wairoa.