Milestone-Proposal talk:The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation - 1897

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What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)? -- Harish (talk) 10:19, 14 October 2020 (UTC)

The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation Limited started distribution of electricity in the form of Direct Current supply (DC) in the city of Calcutta on a trial basis to a few customers from 1898 which was the British capital of India at that time. The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation Limited commissioned the first Thermal Power Plant on 17 April, 1899 at Emambagh Lane, near Prinsep Street in Calcutta. The initial capacity was three boilers of 500 hp capacity, producing Direct Current (DC) at 450 Volts with an earthed mid-point, resulting in (+225V)-0-(-225V) DC supply, providing power for light & electric fan at Government offices and Domestic houses, along with street lighting. In 1902, the Calcutta Tramways Company switched over to electricity from horse drawn carriages. Advent of electricity in the city heralded rapid urbanisation and industrialisation in the city and adjacent area. This brought in an era of widespread electricity usage in the Indian Subcontinent with electricity ushering in a new era of industrial growth. The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation Limited established additional DC generating stations subsequently at Alipore in March, 1902 of 750 kW capacity, Howrah in May, 1906 of 165 kW capacity and Ultadanga in September, 1906 of 1200 kW capacity. Cossipore generating station was commissioned in 1910 with a capacity of 15 MW, generating Alternating Current (AC) at 6000V, bringing in a major technical change in the generation of electricity. This however, required step-down transformers and conversion into DC through rotary converters to maintain the distribution of DC to the customers, bringing in the establishment of ‘substations’ within the heart of Calcutta. The rotary converters were later replaced by mercury-arc rectifiers and much later, to Silicon rectifiers.

The Calcutta dockyards were a busy site for travel and trade, working round the clock. The Port Commissioner had their own generators for lighting up the docks but found it convenient to switch over to electricity supply from The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation Limited in 1926, with the establishment of a generating station at Garden Reach with a capacity of 22.5MW.

Thereafter, it has been a history of growth both in area of coverage as well as in generating capacity. Distribution of 6000V 50 Hz AC supply to factories started from 1915 while distribution of 230V 50Hz AC supply picked up from 1921, running parallely with DC distribution until DC distribution was totally phased out in 2008.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements? -- Harish (talk) 10:25, 14 October 2020 (UTC)

The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation Limited can proudly claim that it brought this wonder form of energy to Calcutta, a bare 10 years after it was first used to light up London – the then undisputed capital of the world. In those days of Calcutta, with hand pulled ‘punkhas’ or swinging fans, dim gas lights and flickering oil lamps, electricity was like a “friendly and obedient Genie” ! Industries grew at a fast pace with the availability of electrical power through lights and motors. It set an example to the rest of India and other British colonies in the east to adopt electrical power as the most convenient and efficient alternative.