Originally Published 2010-12-31 00:00:00 Published on Dec 31, 2010
Many people think Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity with his famous kite flying experiments in 1752, but electricity was not discovered all at once. After various developments world over, Italian scientist Alesandro Volta made a great discovery in 1800.
Power Sector Management & Growth-Past & Future
The development of the Electricity sector in India commenced with the commissioning of the 130 KW hydro electric plant in the hills of Darjeeling in 1897. That was followed by a steam power plant of 1 MW at Calcutta in 1899 by CESC. Shortly thereafter a 4 MW hydro electric plant was commissioned at Siwasamudram in 1902 along with a 78 KV 150 km long transmission line, the longest in the world then. The capacity of this plant was gradually increased to 42 MW by early 1930s. Other notable developments during that period were by CESC in Calcutta and by Tata Power Co. in Bombay–Poona area. Realising the vast potential for its expansion, the Government of India enforced regulatory control of the sector by enacting the Indian Electricity Act, 1910.
In pre-independence era activities of power sector were confined to private companies operating in urban areas only. The aggregate installed capacity at the time of independence of India in 1947 was 1363 MW. With a view to rationalize its growth in post independence India, the Government took a significant step to enact the Electricity Supply Act, 1948 entrusting the responsibility of development of the sector to individual states. That led to formation of state electricity boards (SEBs) in the 1950s and start of era of planned development nationally with formulation of the First Five Year Plan in 1951. Considering their performance, a couple of private companies notably CESC and Tata Electric Co. in Calcutta and Bombay areas were not nationalized.
As per Indian constitution, the power sector is a concurrent subject. It was, however, only in 1975 that in order to give a fillip to the power sector that a major policy initiative was taken to amend the Electricity Supply Act, paving the way for entry of the Central Government into the field of power generation. Central participation thus began with the creation of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and National Hydro Electric Power Corporation (NHPC) in 1975. This was followed by a number of public sector Board managed corporations in thermal, hydel and nuclear power. NTPC had a special distinction in emerging as one of the largest power generating utility in the world in less than three decades.
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