The power sector in India is mainly governed by the Ministry of Power. There are three major pillars of power sector these are Generation, Transmission, and Distribution. As far as generation is concerned it is mainly divided into three sectors these are Central Sector, State Sector, and Private Sector.
Central Sector or 
Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), constitute 29.78% (62826.63MW) of total installed capacity i.e, 210951.72 MW (as on 31/12/2012) in India. Major PSUs involved in the generation of electricity include NHPC Ltd., NTPC Ltd.,, and Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL).

Besides PSUs, several state-level corporations are there which accounts for about 41.10% of overall generation , such as Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB), Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB), Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), in Gujarat (MGVCL, PGVCL, DGVCL, UGVCL four distribution Companies and one controlling body GUVNL, and one generation company GSEC), are also involved in the generation and intra-state distribution of electricity.

Other than PSUs and state level corporations, private sector enterprises also play a major role in generation, transmission and distribution, about 29.11%(61409.24MW) of total installed capacity is generated by private sector.

The PowerGrid Corporation of India is responsible for the inter-state transmission of electricity and the development of national grid.

The Ministry of Power is the apex body responsible for the development of electrical energy in India. This ministry started functioning independently from 2 July 1992; earlier, it was known as the Ministry of Energy. The Union Minister of Power at present is Sushilkumar Shinde and Minister of State for Power is K.C Venugopal.

India is world’s 6th largest energy consumer, accounting for 3.4% of global energy consumption, with Maharashtra as the leading electricity generator among Indian states. Due to India’s economic rise, the demand for energy has grown at an average of 3.6% per annum over the past 30 years. At the end of December 2012, the installed power generation capacity of India stood at  210951.72MW, while the per capita energy consumption stood at 733.54 KWh(2008-09). The Indian government has set an ambitious target to add approximately 78,000 MW of installed generation capacity by 2012. The total demand for electricity in India is expected to cross 950,000 MW by 2030.

India is the sixth largest in terms of power generation. About 65% of the electricity consumed in India is generated by thermal power plants, 22% by hydroelectric power plants, 3% by nuclear power plants and rest by 10% from other alternate sources like solar, wind, biomass etc. 53.7% of India’s commercial energy demand is met through the country’s vast coal reserves. The country has also invested heavily in recent years on renewable sources of energy such as wind energy. As of March 2011, India’s installed wind power generation capacity stood at about 12000 MW. Additionally, India has committed massive amount of funds for the construction of various nuclear reactors which would generate at least 30,000 MW. In July 2009, India unveiled a $19 billion plan to produce 20,000 MW of solar power by 2020 under National Solar Mission.

The per capita power consumption in India is 733.54KWh/yr, which is very minimal as compared to global average of 2340KWh/yr.

Electricity losses in India during transmission and distribution are extremely high, about 28.44%(2008-09)India needs to tide over a peak power shortfall of 13% between 5pm and 11pm by reducing losses due to theft and pilferage.. Due to shortage of electricity, power cuts are common throughout India and this has adversely effected the country’s economic growth. Theft of electricity, common in most parts of urban India, amounts to 1.5% of India’s GDP. The condition of utilities are not good either, cumulative loss of 110 power utilities are estimated as Rs 86,136 crore which is expected to to rise to Rs 1,16,089 crore by 2014-15. Despite an ambitious rural electrification program, some 400 million Indians lose electricity access during blackouts. While 84.9% of Indian villages have at least an electricity line, just 46 percent of rural households have access to electricity.

Electricity Generation

(Data Source CEA, as on 31/12/2012)

Grand Total Installed Capacity is 210951.72 MW.

The data below are in MW



STATE SECTOR 49933.00 5215.32 602.61 0.00 27395.00 3569.92 86715.85 41.10%
CENTRAL SECTOR 41995.00 6702.23 0.00 4780.00 9349.40 0.00 62826.63 29.78%
PRIVATE SECTOR 28945.38 6985.50 597.14 0.00 2595.00 22286.22 61409.24 29.11%
TOTAL 120873.38 18903.05 1199.75 4780.00 39339.40 25856.14 210951.72  
PERCENTAGE(%) 57.29% 08.96% 0.57% 2.27% 18.65% 12.26%   100.00%
  • Captive Genrating capacity connected to the Grid (MW)  = 34444.12
  • The state of Maharashtra is the largest producer of thermal power in the country.
  • India was one of the pioneering countries in establishing hydro-electric power plants. The power plant at Darjeeling and Shimsha(Shivanasamudra) was established in 1898 and 1902 respectively and is one of the first in Asia.
  • R.E.S. INCLUDES :- SHP – 2900 MW , WIND – 12000 MW,B.P. & B.G. –2313.33 MW, U&I & SOLAR – 114.74 MW

Electricity Transmission


A power transmission cable operated by BEST in Mumbai, India.

Transmission of electricity is defined as bulk transfer of power over a long distance at high voltage, generally of 132kV and above. In India bulk transmission has increased from 3,708 ckm in 1950 to more than 166000ckm, out of which 75556ckm is transmitted by Power Grid Corporation of India (as on 30 Sep. 2010 ). The entire country has been divided into five regions for transmission systems, namely, Northern Region, North Eastern Region, Eastern Region, Southern Region and Western Region. The Interconnected transmission system within each region is also called the regional grid.

The transmission system planning in the country, in the past, had traditionally been linked to generation projects as part of the evacuation system. Ability of the power system to safely withstand a contingency without generation rescheduling or load-shedding was the main criteria for planning the transmission system. However, due to various reasons such as spatial development of load in the network, non-commissioning of load center generating units originally planned and deficit in reactive compensation, certain pockets in the power system could not safely operate even under normal conditions. This had necessitated backing down of generation and operating at a lower load generation balance in the past. Transmission planning has therefore moved away from the earlier generation evacuation system planning to integrate system planning.

While the predominant technology for electricity transmission and distribution has been Alternating Current (AC) technology, High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) technology has also been used for interconnection of all regional grids across the country and for bulk transmission of power over long distances.

Certain provisions in the Electricity Act 2003 such as open access to the transmission and distribution network, recognition of power trading as a distinct activity, the liberal definition of a captive generating plant and provision for supply in rural areas are expected to introduce and encourage competition in the electricity sector. It is expected that all the above measures on the generation, transmission and distribution front would result in formation of a robust electricity grid in the country.

Electricity Distribution


The total installed generating capacity in the country is 210951.72MW,and the total number of consumers is over 146 million. Apart from an extensive transmission system network at 500kV HVDC, 400kV, 220kV, 132kV and 66kV which has developed to transmit the power from generating station to the grid substations, a vast network of sub transmission in distribution system has also come up for utilisation of the power by the ultimate consumers.

However, due to lack of adequate investment on transmission and distribution (T&D) works, the T&D losses have been consistently on higher side, and reached to the level of 28.44% in the year 2008-09.The reduction of these losses was essential to bring economic viability to the State Utilities.

As the T&D loss was not able to capture all the losses in the net work, concept of Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) loss was introduced. AT&C loss captures technical as well as commercial losses in the network and is a true indicator of total losses in the system.

High technical losses in the system are primarily due to inadequate investments over the years for system improvement works, which has resulted in unplanned extensions of the distribution lines, overloading of the system elements like transformers and conductors, and lack of adequate reactive power support.

The commercial losses are mainly due to low metering efficiency, theft & pilferages. This may be eliminated by improving metering efficiency, proper energy accounting & auditing and improved billing & collection efficiency. Fixing of accountability of the personnel / feeder managers may help considerably in reduction of AT&C loss.

With the initiative of the Government of India and of the States, the Accelerated Power Development & Reform Programme (APDRP) was launched in 2001. APDRP meant to upgrade the distribution system, minimize transmission and distribution losses, improve metering and assign responsibility for the realization of user charges —has not been able to bring down losses to 15% by the end of 2007, as originally targeted in 2000-01.

The APDRP programme is being restructured by the Government of India, so that the desired level of 15% AT&C loss could be achieved by the end of 11th plan.(estimated plan cost – Rs50000 crore)

The main objective of the programme was to bring Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses below 15% in five years in urban and in high-density areas. The programme, along with other initiatives of the Government of India and of the States, has led to reduction in the overall AT&C loss from 38.86% in 2001-02 to 28.44% in 2008-09.

RGGVY, which had a target of providing electricity to 125,000 villages and connecting 23 million below-poverty-line households across the country by 31 March, has also been faltering.

Power for ALL by 2012






The Government of India has an ambitious mission of POWER FOR ALL BY 2012. This mission would require that the installed generation capacity should be at least 200,000 MW by 2012 from the present level of 167278.36MW. Power requirement will double by 2020 to 400,000MW.

The government had earlier planned to add 78,000 MW of power capacity by the end of the 11th Plan, which the Planning Commission had scaled down to 62,000 MW. This may now be further curtailed to 58,000 MW (as on Dec’ 2010).


  • Sufficient power to achieve GDP growth rate of 8%
  • Reliable power
  • Quality power
  • Optimum power cost
  • Commercial viability of power industry
  • Power for all


  • Power Generation Strategy with focus on low cost generation, optimization of capacity utilization, controlling the input cost, optimisation of fuel mix, Technology upgradation and utilization of Non Conventional energy sources
  • Transmission Strategy with focus on development of National Grid including Interstate connections, Technology upgradation & optimization of transmission cost.
  • Distribution strategy to achieve Distribution Reforms with focus on System upgradation, loss reduction, theft control, consumer service orientation, quality power supply commercialization, Decentralized distributed generation and supply for rural areas.
  • Regulation Strategy aimed at protecting Consumer interests and making the sector commercially viable.
  • Financing Strategy to generate resources for required growth of the power sector.
  • Conservation Strategy to optimise the utilization of electricity with focus on Demand Side management, Load management and Technology upgradation to provide energy efficient equipment / gadgets.
  • Communication Strategy for political consensus with media support to enhance the general public awareness.,

Rural electrification

Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Uttranchal, Madhya Pradesh etc are some of the states where significant number (more than 10%) of villages are yet to be electrified.

  • Number of Villages (1991 Census) – 593,732
  • Villages Electrified (31/08/2010) – 503,924
  • Village level Electrification % – 84.9%


Several state governments in India provide electricity at subsidised rates or even free to some sections. This includes for use in agriculture and for consumption by backward classes. The subsidies are mainly as cross-subsidisation, with the other users such as industries and private consumers paying the deficit caused by the subsidised charges collected. Such measures have resulted in many of the state electricity boards becoming financially weak.

At present (2012), the price per unit of electricity in India is about Rs. 4 for domestic consumers, and Rs. 9 for the commercial supply.

34 Responses

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  15. Naveen says:

    An excellent blog wherein you get complete information on the Indian power sector. Thanks for sharing the info.

  16. Zack says:

    Although 10% of India’s biult energy capacity involves renewable enregy, I think only about 3-4% of actual consumption is generated from renewable sources.

  17. Partap says:

    God blog, nice info on Indian Power sector. You should also add some electricity related problems especially transmission lines in villages & small towns. How people electrocutes due poor power supply lines.

  18. great work Sumit….

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  23. V K Gupta says:

    Power sector is likely to miss the revised targets of62374 MW capacity addition in 11th five year plan by 10000 MW. Government had set a target of 78577 MW for the 11th which was toned down by Planning Commission to 62374 MW during mid -term appraisal.
    The country has added 45666 MW of capacity up to December 2011 in the 11th. Plan .Based upon the ongoing progress of various projects in country capacity addition in the last quarter will be less than 7000MW. The anticipated capacity addition in 11th plan will be around 52500 MW thus missing the revised target by about 10000MW.
    CEA in report released yesterday claimed total installed capacity in the country as on December 31 is 186654 MW. This includes 122963 MW of thermal generation, 38748 Mw of Hydro generations, 20162 MW of renewable energy sources and 4780 Mw of nuclear power. The coal based thermal generation is 104021 MW.
    During December country added 1158 MW of thermal power against nil schedules. This included 300 MW Rosa, 660 MW Sipat, 135MW at Kasaipalli and 63 MW SLV thermal.
    660 MW thermal at Jhajjar in Haryana has been commissioned by last week. The state sector may add 3500 MW in last quarter and another 1500 MW by central sector will be added. The projects to be completed in last quarter are 600 MW Salaya units and the 300 MW Balco units, 250 MW units 1 of the Pragati project and 351 MW unit of the Hazira project. NTPC’s 660 MW Sipat unit 1, 500 MW Mauda units and 500 MW Rihand units 5 are likely to slip in the next five year plan. A number of projects by private companies are also slipping in next plan.

  24. Dhruv says:

    Excellent Stuff throughout the website. Just a small suggestion, please also add the date of the posts when they were posted.

  25. monalisa says:

    plz any inform me what is total number of electric power companies in India? help me

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