The first demonstration of electric light in Calcutta was conducted on 24 July 1879 by P W Fleury & Co. On 7 January 1897, Kilburn & Co secured the Calcutta electric lighting license as agents of the Indian Electric Co, which was registered in London on 15 January 1897. A month later, the company was renamed the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation. The control of the company was transferred from London to Calcutta only in 1970. Enthused by the success of electricity in Calcutta, power was thereafter introduced in Bombay. Mumbai saw electric lighting demonstration for the first time in 1882 at Crawford Market, and Bombay Electric Supply & Tramways Company (BEST) set up a generating station in 1905 to provide electricity for the tramway. The first hydroelectric installation in India was installed near a tea estate at Sidrapong for the Darjeeling Municipality in 1897. The first electric train ran between Bombay’s Victoria Terminus and Kurla along the Harbour Line, in 1925.In 1931, electrification of the metre gauge track between Madras Beach and Tambaram was started.

As of March 2013, the per capita total electricity consumption in India was 917.2 kWh. The per capita average annual domestic electricity consumption in India in 2009 was 96 kWh in rural areas and 288 kWh in urban areas for those with access to electricity in contrast to the worldwide per capita annual average of 2,600 kWh and 6,200 kWh in the European Union. Electric energy consumption in agriculture was recorded highest(28.2%) in 1991-92. The per capita electricity consumption is lower compared to many countries despite cheaper electricity tariff in India