The history of electricity in the state is around one century old. The first effort in this direction was a private endeavour. Like many other modern infrastructure facilities, electricity also was first brought to the state by a British company – the Kannan Devan Hill Produce Company, Munnar. The first generating station of the state was set up on the right bank of a tributary of River Periyar in 1910. It was a hydroelectric project and that tributary named Mudirappuzha continues to be the site of large a number of hydroelectric projects in the state.
After a spell of 17 years, the attention of the state authorities turned to newer forms of generating energy. The Government of Travancore set up a facility to supply electricity to the households of Thiruvananthapuram town. In 1927, a Thermal Power Station was established under government ownership at Thiruvananthapuram for production of electrical energy on commercial lines. Three oil engine generators, of a capacity of 65 kW each, were installed and commercial production started in 1929.This station was located at Thampanoor at Thiruvananthapuram. An Electrical Wing under the State Public Works Department was entrusted with the administration of the scheme.
The next significant development was the formation of a separate department for electricity in 1932 by His Highness Sri Chithirathirunal Maharaja and his Diwan Sir C P Ramaswami Iyer. The formation of the Electricity Department paved the way for notable developments in the field. Thermal generating stations were set up at Kollam, Kottayam and Nagercoil (now in Tamil Nadu) in 1934. By that time, the possibilities of hydroelectric generation attracted the attention of the technologists and the authorities.
Kerala being a land of mountains and rivers, it presented a fertile field for hydroelectric generation. The vast potential for hydroelectric generation in the state prompted the state authorities to take steps 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 stage of the project was commissioned in 1940. Its capacity was 13.5 MW. By that time, a comparable electric transmission network had also been completed with 66 kV substations at Alappuzha, Mavelikkara, Kothamangalam, Kundara, Kalamasserry, Viyyur, Aluva, and Thiruvananthapuram, which were also commissioned in 1940 itself during April -May months