NV GEBE is celebrating its 49th anniversary of providing electricity to St. Maarten, Saba and Statia. The company was established on September 16, 1960, less than 2 weeks after hurricane Donna devastated St. Maarten, destroying the few overhead lines in Philipsburg.
The NV Overzeese Gas- en Electriciteitsmaatschappij (OGEM BV), a Dutch company, established the NV Gemeenschappelijk Electriciteitsbedrijf St. Maarten (GESM) in Curacao to exploit electricity in St. Maarten.
OGEM got a concession for 10 years during which it would manage GESM. The concession was later extended and GESM was renamed GEBE (Gemeenschappelijk Electriciteitsbedrijf Bovenwindse Eilanden) to reflect the expansion of the company’s service to the islands of Saba and St Eustatius.
On Wednesday, January 25, 2006, NV GEBE was transferred from the central government to the island territories of St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius. A Shareholders Foundation was established and 100% of the shares, which are owned by the three islands, were transferred to the GEBE Shareholders Foundation. Saba and St. Eustatius each have one representative on the Shareholders Foundation while St. Maarten has three.
NV GEBE has expanded from its small beginnings of electricity for 6 hours a day with a peak of 500 kilowatts, to 24-hours service with a peak of 54 megawatts, an underground distribution grid, and water distribution. A new vision for the company was introduced in 2007 that states that GEBE strives to be the leading utility company in the Caribbean by providing high quality and reliable electricity, water and waste water management services to the Dutch Windward Islands, in a customer oriented and cost effective manner, with a skilled team of professionals that strives to exceed expectations, taking safety and the environment into account.
On the occasion of the 49th Anniversary, GEBE Managing Director, William Brooks, will be featured on the Beverly Hyman show that will be aired on St. Maarten on Channel 15 at 8:30 p.m. as well as on the Valerie van Putten show on PJD2 102.7 at 5:00 p.m. A special showing has been arranged for Saba and Statia on Channel 7. GEBE Managing Direct, ir. William Brooks will be giving an update on the company, the GEBE vision and strategy for the coming years as well as outlining the challenges the company is facing.
GEBE will be celebrating with a company toast to mark the 49th anniversary and begin the preparations for the company’s golden anniversary in 2010.