West Bengal has five distribution licensees - WBSEDCL, CESC, DPL, DPSC and DVC. All five distribution utilities have their own power generation plants or sources.
The process of reforms in power sector in West Bengal began in 2005, with restructuring of erstwhile West Bengal State Electricity Board (WBSEB) into the Transmission and Distribution utilities in 2007:
- West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd. (WBSEDCL) - Distribution Company
- West Bengal State Electricity Transmission Company Ltd. (WBSETCL) - Transmission Company
The generation function of erstwhile state utility has been organized under a separate entity, West Bengal Power Development Corporation Ltd. (WBPDCL). Established in 1985, WBPDCL is responsible for thermal power generation in the State, while hydro generation was being undertaken by the then WBSEB till the time of unbundling and currently transferred of hydro assets to WBSEDCL.
The State regulatory commission, West Bengal State Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBERC) was established in 1999.
As of October 2017, West Bengal had a total installed power generation capacity of 10,483.75 MW; of which 6,697.95 MW was under state utilities; 2,615.03 MW was under the private sector and 1,170.77 MW was under central utilities.
Of the total installed power capacity, 8,655.77 MW was contributed by thermal power, 1,396.00 MW by hydropower and 431.98 MW by renewable power.
West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency, formed in the year 1993, has implemented a large number of programmes related to solar energy, wind energy, mini & micro hydel, bio-energy, etc.
The West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited Board is planning to establish an additional 500 MW unit under the existing capacity of Sagardighi Thermal Power Plant in coming years.
Similarly, the establishment of 2 new units (500 MW each) in Santaldih Thermal Power Plant, are being planned by WBPDC in coming years. Moreover, the work on setting up one unit is under process.
In August 2016, the Central Government launched Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, targeted to benefit 19.6 million BPL households over a period of three years. The state is expected to witness an investment of around US$ 441 million, while creating 10,000 new jobs.
In March 2017, SPML Infra Ltd received new orders worth US$ 37.18 million for power transmission and distribution in West Bengal and Haryana. The company received US$ 15.90 million worth of orders from West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company for rural electricity infrastructure development in Murshidabad.
During 2015-16 to 2017-18, all 22 un-electrified villages that were present in the state were electrified.