Why is India’s frequency 50Hz and not 60Hz like the US?
Answer: There is no definitive answer to why India’s frequency is 50Hz and not 60Hz like the US, but there are some possible explanations based on historical and technical factors.
Here are some of them:- One reason is that India inherited its electrical system from the British, who used 50Hz as their standard frequency since the late 19th century.
The US, on the other hand, adopted 60Hz as their standard frequency around the same time, influenced by the German engineer Charles F. Brush, who designed the first successful AC generator in 1876¹².
– Another reason is that lower frequencies require larger generators and transformers, which are more expensive and difficult to transport. India, being a large and diverse country, may have preferred 50Hz as a compromise between cost and efficiency.
The US, having more abundant resources and better infrastructure, may have opted for 60Hz as a way to increase power transmission and reduce losses³⁴.- A third reason is that higher frequencies produce more heat in wires and equipment, which can be a problem in hot climates like India. Lower frequencies also allow for longer transmission lines and lower voltage drops, which can be beneficial for rural electrification.
The US, having a cooler climate and more urbanized population, may have favored 60Hz as a way to reduce the size and weight of electrical devices³⁴.These are some of the possible factors that influenced the choice of frequency in India and the US, but there may be other reasons as well.
Ultimately, it is a matter of convention and tradition that has persisted over time. There is no inherent advantage or disadvantage of using either frequency, as long as the electrical system is designed and maintained accordingly.