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December 19, 2012

CESC Ltd., the road ahead

CESC Ltd, an introduction CESC (Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation) Ltd. has been lighting up the lives of people of Kolkata and Howrah for more than a century now.  This company, which is currently producing 1250MW of power and serving around 2.5 million people, was established in colonial era in 1897. Initially known as Kilburn & Co., the company set up its first power generation plant in 1899 near the Princep Ghat. At present, there are four thermal power stations owned by CESC Ltd., which supply around 90% of total power distributed by it. CESC also has captive mines, which supply almost 50% of the coal needed for its thermal power plants.


Management and ownership At present it’s owned by RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, the famous industrial house in India and its chairman is Mr R P Goenka. The other officials include Sanjiv Goenka, VC, P K Khaitan, director and B M Khaitan, also a director.  The company is headquartered at CESC House, Chowringhee Square, Kolkata. The company is listed on the Indian stock market and the total number of its employees exceeds 10,000. Its market capitalization at the stock market is Rs. 3,806.30crore


Infrastructure CESC owns its transmission and distribution system, which is the main source of its citywide power supply. It has around 4000km of high tension lines and 10,000km of low tension lines. They are also planning to set up numerous power plants in the country. History After the inception of its first power plant in 1900, with a small power generation capacity of 1 MW, it has now come a long way to acquire a capacity of 1600MW. It had a mission to serve the power requirements of Kolkata and its nearby areas, both for individual as well as industrial requirements. They have set their own benchmark in terms of production and distribution and that’s the reason they are one of the top few power generation companies in India. Their aims are high and they are determined to serve the core needs of the consumers.


In the 70s and 80s, power supply in Kolkata was marred by various issues such as frequent load-shedding. The RPG Group took over CESC (India) Ltd in 1989 and renamed it as CESC Ltd.  After that time, CESC has gone through a sea change and there are far less power outages at present. At present, it’s generating around 1250MW regularly and has even higher capacity. It has ambitious plans to cross 7000MW mark in the next couple years.  It has all three types of power projects underway viz.  hydro-electric, thermal and solar with a plan outlay of 30 thousands crore rupees. The four power stations under CESC include New Cossipore, Titagarh, Budge Budge and Southern.


  Achievements and expansion plans It is a fully integrated utility that owns everything from coal mining to distribution of electricity, spanning over 570sq km area around the West Bengal capital. It has been successful in retaining the green element and keeping the power-cost affordable. The organization is still young and ambitious in terms of services and future plans. Its upcoming projects include Haldia Phase I, West Bengal, Chandrapur, Maharashtra, and Dumka, Jharkahand with a projected capacity of 600MW each.  Dhenkanal, Orissa, Balagarh, West Bengal and Pirpainti, Bihar thermal power plants have a planned capacities of 1000MW, 1300MW and 2000MW respectively. They are to be commissioned between the year 2013 and 2017. The company is listed on all national as well as few international stock exchanges, such as the EuroMTF of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange.


Accolades The Times of India rated CESC’s Calcutta power supply as ten out of ten in 1997, as compared to the other megacities of the country. Titagarh Power Plant of CESC won the ISO 9002 certification by the turn of the century. Budge Budge station won the bronze shield for extraordinary performance in 2007. The same plant won the Green Tech Foundation 'Environment Excellence Gold Award' in the year 2009. Strategies implemented for growth



  • Setting up of new power plants and extension of various units CESC carved out the path of aggressively setting up new power plants and extending the units of existing ones relentlessly. The Titagarh power plant was commissioned in the year 1983 (240 MW,) and CESC became aggressive on multiplying power production since then. Southern plant was launched in the year 1990 and it was followed by the unit enhancements of Budge Budge and subsequent launch of Balagarh Power Company Ltd, 1996.

  • Outsourcing and joint ventures for expansion The cabling work was started being outsourced from Neyveli Lignite Corporation from the year 1988. An agreement was signed with MECON, a PSU consultancy firm to enter consultancy and construction contracts in power and engineering industry in the country and the overseas markets.

  • Taking full ownership of its fuel sources at mines As an important step to secure its fuel supply at the minimum cost, CESC started Integrated Coal Mining Pvt. Ltd in the year 1995 to start mining coal to procure coal supply for its various power plants.

  • Partnerships for financial and strategic benefits CESC entered into many joint ventures and partnership to augment its strengths and expansion plans. It partnered with Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC) to repay its debt in 2005, and went into an agreement with the Government of Jharkhand.

  •  Diversification into retail To get the financial benefits of retail boom in the country, CESC diversified into retail industry by partnering with Spencer's Retail Limited (SRL), to expand the chain of stores across India in 2009. It acquired SRL later on with its holding of around 95% in SRL.

  • Acquisitions and launching subsidiary companies CESC took controlling stake in Bantal Singapore Pvt Ltd and acquired Dhariwal Infrastructure Pvt Ltd (DIPL), to launch a 600MW power plant in Maharashtra.  CEC also partnered with Firstsource Solutions (FSL) to upgrade its distribution system. In a similar step, they signed an agreement with SP Global Solutions, a Singapore Power subsidiary, to provide consultancy and support to augment the power-distribution. 

  • International Outlook CESC has an international outlook and recently it undertook a worldwide survey to explore the city that has the most reliable distribution system worldwide.


  • Excellent HR policies and talent acquisition One of India’s leading private power utility knows the importance of having trained, dedicated, and motivated work force on its rolls for a robust performance and enhance customer satisfaction and safety. CESC recruits people from different backgrounds to introduce innovation and passionate approach to solve the day to day problems of power production, distribution and transmission.  It’s a rewarding career to work at CESC, where your ability to handle challenges is monitored carefully and rewarded accordingly.  They recruit both through campus visits and through online applications.  Campus recruitment is held in various engineering colleges and business schools.


    Best HR practices Learning and education Learning is encouraged through innovative thinking, finding out of the box solutions and exceeding human limitations. Various short term courses are available inside the company directed to enhance your technical knowhow. MBAs get a chance to go for advanced Management Development Programs. Internship programs are available to learn the inputs necessary to deal with a ruthlessly competitive marketplace. Mentoring Mentoring is an ongoing activity in the company and seniors mentor the junior staff in small batches to sharpen their skills and overcoming their weaknesses.


    Compensation and Benefits CESC offers the most competitive paychecks in the power industry in India. “Pay for performance” is an excellent morale booster. The internal organizational setup is more like a family and employees are treated with respect and dignity. Knowledge sharing and human bonding are encouraged. 

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    About Nashaat Quadri

    Freelance Content Writer (Compare Infobase, New Delhi.) Ex Sr Content Writer, Western Software, New Delhi. Ex Relationship Manager, Mashreq Bank, Dubai.
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