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Electrical Industry in India

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Electricity in India

Unlike other technological developments in the West, which were introduced in India after a time lag, electricity was introduced in India in the form of galvanic electricity (both electro chemical and electro magnetic) through telegraphy. The first experimental line was set up in Kolkata in 1839 at the Botanical Gardens along the river Hooghly.

Electricity in the form of lighting arrived 35 years later with the former princely state of Bikaner introducing electricity in the subcontinent. In 1886 Jamsetji Tata installed a dynamo driven power plant in his residence, which was later extended to the adjacent Gymkhana Chambers ten years later. When the Taj Mahal Hotel was built in 1903, it was equipped with a modern power generator.

The Government of India invited Crompton to help in the preparation of an Electric Lighting Act in 1896. Subsequently, the Indian Electric Company Ltd. was registered in London in January 1897, which changed its name to become the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC). A CESC power station started its operation on April 17, 1899.

The first major hydroelectric project (4.5 MW) in India was on the Cauvery river at Sivasamudram, commissioned by the Maharaja of Mysore in 1899. It commenced power supplies to the Kolar Gold Mines in 1902. The capacity was increased to 42

MW in stages by 1927.

In 1903, the Madras Electric Supply Corporation of India Ltd. installed a power plant and subsequently set up power plants in different cities including Karachi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Nagpur, Rangoon and Tibet.

The Tata Hydroelectric Power Supply Co. was registered on November 7, 1910 and the license obtained by the syndicate for power generation was transferred to the Company. The country's largest hydropower station was commissioned in 1911 with a 32 MW capacity which transmitted power to Bombay on a 110 kV transmission line. To meet the increased load demand, Tata Sons Ltd. promoted a new Company

- Andhra Valley Power Supply Co. in 1916 and commissioned a 72 MW power plant at Shivpuri in 1922. A third company - Tata Power Co. Ltd. was incorporated in

1919 and set up a 88 MW generating station at Bhira in 1927.

During this decade major railway workshops, defence installations, ordnance factories, collieries, dockyards, oil, flour, jute and textile mills were equipped with diesel or steam driven generators and electric drives.



Break up of Present Installed capacity

Fuel MW %

a. Thermal 81,681 66.4

i) Coal 68,308 55.6

ii) Gas 12,172 9.9

iii) Oil 1,202 0.9

b) Hydro 31,865 25.9

c) Nuclear 3,310 2.7

d) Renewable 6,158 5

123,014 100

Present Transmission System

MVA Ckt.Km

765/ 800 kV - 1,323

400 kV 76,010 63,129

220 KV 142,242 107,625

HVDC 30,000 5,876

Source : Ministry of Power

By the time India got her Independence in 1947, the total installed capacity in the country was 1392 MW (884 MW Thermal and 508 Hydro).

Highlights of the Indian Power System

1950 2005


Generation Capacity installed




2. Transmission Lines Ckt. MW 2,700 250,000

3. Village Electrification Nos. 1,500 475,000 (81%)

4. Per Capita Consumption Kwh/year 15.6 606

Source : Ministry of Power

Since then, India has come a long way with an installed generating capacity of

115544.81 MW as on 31-01-2005.

Despite this achievement, the ever-increasing demand for power has led to a widening gap between the supply and demand. The Indian power sector is a core infrastructure sector and its expansion is essential for the success of economic development of India. The Government has therefore, rightly laid emphasis on this sector and plans to add 70,000 MW of new installed generating capacity by the end of 2012. In other words, it means an addition of 10,000 MW every year on an average.



Advent of manufacturing of electrical equipment in India

In the beginning, no overseas company set up a manufacturing facility in India. They were merchandising and contracting through their local agents in India like Kilburn & Co., Martin & Co., Killick Nixon, F&C Osler & Co. Balmer Lawrie, Jessop

& Co., John Flemming etc. Anticipating the growing demand for electricity, particularly in the textile mills, Greaves Cotton, the biggest group of spinning mills, set up its electrical engineering department in 1904 while F&A Parkinson and Verity

& Co. holding Agency for Crompton took up contract jobs for electrification.




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