The Kundara substation of the Kerala State Electricity Board completes 75 years on 03-05-2015. Kundara was the industrial hub of erstwhile Travancore and the then Maharaja Chitira Tirunal Bala Rama Varma recognised the need for a substation there.
It started as a 66 kV substation on May 3, 1940, and functioned as the nerve centre of south-central Travancore's electricity system. Later, it was upgraded to a 220 kV substation.
The history of electricity in the State is more than a century old.
The first generating station of the State was set up by the British on the right bank of the Mudirapuzha, a tributary of the Periyar in 1910.
It was a hydroelectric project. Later, Travancore authorities gave serious thought to providing electricity to houses in Thiruvananthapuram and established a thermal power station at Thampanoor in 1927. Three oil engine generators, with a capacity of 65 kW each, were installed and commercial production started in 1929.
An electrical wing under the Public Works Department was entrusted with the administration of the station. The next significant development was the formation of a department for electricity in 1932 by the Maharaja and his Diwan Sir C.P. Ramaswami Iyer. This paved the way for notable developments in the sector.
Thermal generating stations were set up at Kollam, Kottayam, and Nagercoil in 1934. Soon afterwards the vast hydroelectric potential prompted the authorities to establish stations for hydroelectric generation.
The first of these ventures was the Pallivasal hydroelectric project, the construction of which was started in 1933. The first phase was commissioned in 1940 and its capacity was 13.5 MW.
The project was complemented with a power transmission network with 66 kV substations coming up at Alappuzha, Mavelikara, Kothamangalam, Kundara, Kalamassery, Viyyur, Aluva, and Thiruvananthapuram.
Former KSEB Member (Generation) K. Radhakrishnan said most of the senior retired engineers of the KSEB had an opportunity to serve at the Kundara substation. "The substation still triggers nostalgic memories in us," said Mr. Radhakrishnan, who served as station engineer there.
Source- The Hindu