New Delhi : In a major strategy to reduce the cost of its electric traction energy bill, Indian Railways (IR) has succeeded in achieving a cumulative saving of Rs 5,636 crore from April, 2015 to October, 2017against the ‘Business As Usual’ (BAU) mode by procuring power directly under open access arrangements. This cumulative figure is likely to further go up to Rs 6,927 crore by the end of the current financial year by March, 2018.
The estimated savings on these accounts indicates that in ten years (2015-2025), these initiatives can generate a cumulative saving of about Rs 41,000 crore in electric traction bill, which has been named as IR’s Mission 41K.
With a view to effect savings in its huge energy bill, Indian Railways took lot of innovative initiatives in arranging procurement of power under open access. It may be pointed out that the Electricity Act 2003 conferred Deemed Licensee status on IR due to its
involvement in generation, transmission and distribution of energy from the time electricity came to India. Accordingly, IR had been working to get this provision of Electricity Act operational; however it didn’t come through for quite some time due to various factors.
Later, however, Minister of Railways, took up this task with fresh impetus and subsequently a strategy was drawn. In line with this, Indian Railway approached Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) for issue of necessary guidelines to all State Transmission Utilities (STUs) and State Load Dispatch Centers (SLDCs) to facilitate Open Access to Indian Railways on existing transmission network as Deemed Licensee. Finally, IR’s vision of drawing electrical energy as deemed licensee was realised when it started drawing about 200 MW power on Central Railway from Ratnagiri Gas Power Pvt. Ltd. (RGPPL – Gas based power plant) in Maharashtra. This was for the first time that IR had drawn energy under open access as a distribution licensee using state distribution network.
IR contracted about 500 MW from RGPPL for consumption in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, MP, and Jharkhand for meeting its electric traction power requirement. The flow of power in all these four States was completed by January 22, 2016.
IR also contracted 50 MW through open tender for taking power on its own transmission network from Dadri to Kanpur, which started flowing from December 1, 2015.
Further in the current year flow of power started in the state of Rajasthan from January 1, 2017, in Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) area from August 17 and in the states of Haryana and Karnataka from October 17.