Milestones:The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation - 1897

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The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation, 1899


The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) established the first commercial electric supply company in South Asia. CESC switched on the 1000 kW thermal power generation plant at Emambagh Lane, Prinsep Street in Calcutta (now Kolkata) on 17 April 1899. This delivered 450/225V DC power for street lighting, residential and office buildings, and the Calcutta Tramways. The event heralded the era of electricity in the Indian Subcontinent.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the Milestone Plaque Sites

CESC, Victoria House, Chowringhee Square , Kolkata 700 001, 22.561614749461267 88.36674148833798, CESC, Victoria House, Chowringhee Square , Kolkata 700 001, 22.561614749461267 88.36674148833798

Details of the physical location of the plaque

The corporate building of CESC has a round dome on the top with a small globe which remains illuminated at night.

How the intended plaque site is protected/secured

The building is well protected, plaque will be mounted in a secured place

Historical significance of the work

The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation Limited started distribution of electricity in the City of Calcutta from 1897 which was the British capital of India during that period. Advent of electricity in the city heralded rapid urbanisation and industrialisation in the city and adjacent area. The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation Limited commissioned first Thermal Power Plant on 17th April, 1899 at Emambagh Lane near Prinsep Street in Calcutta. The initial capacity was 3 x 500 HP, Direct Current (DC) supplied to Consumers at 450 & 225 Volts. CESC established additional power stations subsequently at Alipore in March, 1902 of 750 kW capacity, Ultadanga in May, 1906 of 165 kW capacity and Howrah in September, 1906 of 1200 kW capacity. Cossipore generating station commissioned in 1912 with a capacity of 15 MW that replaced the earlier four generating stations. CESC switched over to alternating current (AC) in 1920. The initial usage of electricity was for Street lighting, High-end domestic load and for the electrification of the Calcutta Tram Ways.

Features that set this work apart from similar achievements

CESC can proudly claim that it brought this wonder energy to Calcutta, a bare 10 years after it was first used to light up London – then the undisputed capital of the world. In those days there was neither gas lamp, nor electricity. Even the kerosene lamp, when it came dazzled us. The contrast can only be described by someone enjoying the wonders of electricity and looking back to those days of oil lamps.

Significant references

Please refer to the document attached

Supporting materials