For cheaper power to run locals, Western Railway turns to Gujarat

WR is already buying power from Gujarat for its long-distance trains.

Written by PRIYAL DAVE | Mumbai | Updated: July 20, 2014 1:17 am
ttrainM Railway officers said under bulk consumers, the present rates paid by WR was one of the highest in the country.

In a bid to bring down its electricity bill for the suburban railways that stood at Rs 234 crore during financial year 2013-2014, the Western Railway (WR), which is buying bulk power at rates that are probably the highest in the country, has turned to the Gujarat government for relief.

According to sources, the WR is looking to source 50 MW power from Gujarat to run its locals, for which the Gujarat government has agreed. If the deal goes as planned, WR will have to pay Rs 5 per unit compared to Rs 6-9 per unit that it pays Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) and Tata Power.

“For some time, we have been in talks with the Gujarat government, which has agreed in-principle to supply power for our suburban system. This will bring down the expenditure on electricity drastically and help the administration budget money,” a senior railway officer said.

“It’s in the pilot stage for now. Depending on the availability of power with the Gujarat government, we can increase it,” said the officer.

WR is already buying power from Gujarat for its long-distance trains. WR’s Mumbai division, which runs both suburban and long-distance trains, requires 425 MW of power daily.

At present, WR depends on MSEDCL and Tata Power to meet its routine power needs for the Mumbai suburban rail system. MSEDCL charges Rs 6.72 per unit while Tata Power charges Rs 9.14 per unit.

In its budget, WR spends 25 per cent of its total earnings on purchasing energy, making it only the second highest expenditure to wages.

Railway officers said under bulk consumers, the present rates paid by WR was one of the highest in the country.

“The MSEDCL has hiked power tariff by 36 per cent and Tata Power by 44 per cent in the last two years. However, the hike in passenger fares is not the same,” said Hemant Kumar, General Manager, WR, during a media briefing on Thursday.

Citing comparative fares of different modes of transport in the city, Kumar said that suburban railway system continued to be highly subsidised.

According to data compiled by WR, if a person has to travel between Churchgate and Borivali — a distance of 35 km — he would pay 0.11 paise per km (second-class Monthly Season Ticket ) and 0.37 paise (first-class MST) to travel in a local train, 0.82 paise per km by BEST bus and Rs 3.30 per km by Metro.

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  1. A
    Jul 20, 2014 at 10:18 am
    Why Maharashtra selling Railway at higher rate than Gujarat when it has got its own Coal mines to produce Thermal Power? It must be political decision to earn more profit without any base. When Gujrat can sell at Rs.5/- Maharashtra must able to sell cheaper than Gujarat. In Maharashtra Petrol is also costlier than Goa. Who is looting Maharashtra people?
    1. K
      Jul 21, 2014 at 3:58 am
      Maha is power defecit state...Guj is power surplus. Maha doesn't have spare power to supply doesn't even have enough power to suplly all year without load shedding and that too when most of rural maharshtra is not connected to grid.
      1. R
        Ramesh Chhabra
        Jul 20, 2014 at 3:45 am
        A good news from WR that they providing facility to p holders at very low rates. Other sub urban EMUs should provide facility at these rates to provoke pengers to use public transport and became a life line like Mumbai's EMUs.Secondly time has come to arrange electricity by Railways for themselves to save the fuel & finance. Railway can generate electricity through solar energy also. Solar energy can be used at platforms and Stations. Asbestos sheets at Platforms can replaced by Solar panels to generate energy. . .
        1. S
          Jul 21, 2014 at 7:16 am
          Arre behna yeh 0.11 paise/km kya hota hai. It must be 11paise per kilometer.