Electricity in India

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Electricity was introduced in India before independence by the British. On July 24, 1879, P.W.Fluery & Co. demonstrated first electric light bulbs in the streets of Calcutta (now known as Kolkata). Kilburn and Co. get the electric lighting license as agents of the Indian Electric Co. which was registered in London on 15 January 1897. After a month, the company was renamed The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation. They electrified Harrison Road (renamed MG Road) in Kolkata in 1889.

The Electricity Act of India was formed in 1910. It allowed private companies to generate and supply electricity. The first government installation was in Aruvankadu, Nilgiris. At that time, Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) and Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation Ltd. (CESC) were the major companies.

The first electric street light in Asia was lit on 5 August 1905 in Bangalore (now known as Bengaluru). The first hydroelectric installation in India was Sidrapong located at the foothills of Arya Tea Estate; 12 km from Darjeeling town in 1897. The first electric train in India ran on the Harbour Line between Bombay’s Victoria Terminus and Kurla on 3 February 1925.

At that time, electricity was not very famous as nobody knows about electricity. Government publishes the advertisements in the newspapers and distributed pamphlets to promote the use of electricity for lighting and heating purposes. Initially, the consumers of electricity were industries, banks, clubs, and very less private residences. Then slowly and gradually everything was changing. By the early 1900s, trams replaced man / horse-driven carriages, ceiling fans replaced hand fans and lantern & gas lights were becoming obsolete. And this journey is still going on. Now electricity is a key input for accelerating economic growth.

The journey of Electricity in India

As elsewhere in the world, the energy and electricity growth in India is closely linked to growth in the economy. At the time of independence in 1947, the total installed electricity generation capacity was 1,363 MWe then it was 30,214 MWe in 1980-81; In 1990-91 it was 66,086 MWe more than double; on 31st March 2003, it was 138,730 MWe and in April 2019, it was 3,56,100.19 MWe.

At present, the country’s peak demand for power stands at 1.81 lakh MW. The current installed power generation capacity can comfortably meet this demand but still many more villages and areas do not have electricity due to lack of infrastructure and previous government’s policies and their will power.

India’s GDP has been growing quite fast and it is forecast that it will continue to be so in the coming decades. GDP growth has to be accompanied by the growth of primary energy consumption as well as electricity consumption. Government of India launched a program called “Power for All” and “Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana — Saubhagya scheme”. The scheme electrified almost 21.3 crore total households in the country. At present, agricultural consumers are offered 7 to 8 hours of power supplies throughout the day and for domestic consumers, the average power supply is closer to 20 hours a day. This program is intended to ensure continuous and uninterrupted electricity supply to all households, industries and commercial establishments by creating and improving the necessary infrastructure. It is a Joint collaboration between the Government of India and with states government who will share funding and create overall economic growth.

We can proudly say that at present India is the world’s third-largest producer and third-largest consumer of electricity.  

Here is the list of the world’s Largest Electricity Producing Countries In 2016:

  • China – 6,015 terra watt-hour (TWh) per year
  • United States – 4,327 terra watt-hour (TWh) per year
  • India – 1,423 terra watt-hour (TWh) per year
  • Russia – 1,088 terra watt-hour (TWh) per year
  • Japan – 1,013 terra watt-hour (TWh) per year
  • Germany – 653 terra watt-hour (TWh) per year
  • Canada – 643 terra watt-hour (TWh) per year

(TWh. 1 TW = 1,000,000 megawatts)

And here is the list of world’s Highest Electricity Consuming Countries:

  • China – 6,310 billion kWh per year
  • United States – 3,911 billion kWh per year
  • India – 1,408 billion kWh per year
  • Russia – 1,065 billion kWh per year
  • Japan – 934 billion kWh per year
  • Germany – 533 billion kWh per year
  • Canada – 528 billion kWh per year

The country’s installed power generating capacity of 334.4 gigawatts (GW, or 1,000 megawatts) as of January 2018 which is the world’s fifth-largest. Over the last five years, India put up 99.21 GW of additional capacity. Of this, 91.73 GW came from thermal sources, 5.48 GW from hydro, and 2 GW from nuclear sources.

Government of India also plans to add around 100 GW of power capacity between 2017 and 2022 and focusing more on hydro, renewable and gas-based power, besides looking at the adoption of clean coal technology. Government of India also plans to add around 60 GW of wind capacity and add around 100 GW of solar by 2022. So hopefully everyone in India can get electricity very soon.

At last, I would say that “Electricity is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Save electricity-Save Money.”

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