Among the different incarnations of energy, electrical power occupies a unique position for its ease of use and range of applications. Switch off electricity from modern life and you might as well turn off all industrial development, agricultural prosperity, urban and rural services and indeed lose most of the amenities that help improve our quality of life. It is therefore not surprising that successive Indian governments since Independence have given top priority to the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.
Till recently almost all such development of the power sector in the country has been through state-owned utilities and financed by public investment. The achievements have been impressive. Starting from an installed capacity of just 1300 MW in 1947 India today has a total installed capacity of 108,000 MW produced through a mix of hydro, thermal, wind and nuclear power. The public sector National Thermal Power Corporation is the world’s sixth largest thermal power generation utility.