BENGALURU: The electricity bill of the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is set to go up to Rs 1.9 crore annually following the recent hike effected in electricity tariff by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission. However, the burden will not be passed on to the commuters, said a top official.
The power required to run its 50 trains running daily is supplied by a separate 750 volts Direct Current Third Rail, which runs parallel to the existing Metro rail tracks. BMRCL has a special rate slab for its electricity needs which is priced at Rs 5 per unit and nearly one-fifth of its earnings go towards its power consumption.
Chief Public Relations Officer at BMRCL Y L Chavan said, “The recent hike effected has pushed our rate per unit to Rs 5.20. This will jack up our electricity bill each month to Rs 15.8 lakh, which works out at an increase of Rs 1.9 crore annually.” The bill paid by BMRCL to BESCOM each month in 2017-2018 was Rs 4.63 crore and Rs 4.96 crore a month in 2018-2019, he added.
Asked if a fare revision on Metro was on the cards, Chavan ruled it out. “A hike in travel fares was effected last year. There is no plan to increase it due to the higher electricity bills we have to pay this financial year.”
BMRCL managed big savings (18.36%) in its energy bills over the previous year when BESCOM removed the higher tariff imposed for trains running during day time as well as slashed the energy tariff by Rs 1 per unit in May 2018.
No official was able to specify as to how much units per month is consumed by running of trains presently, particularly since six-car trains which have been regularly launched in phases since June 2018 require much higher power to run. According to an official, BMRCL’s electricity consumption came to 65 lakh units per month last year and this includes power used in running trains, lighting stations as well as air conditioning inside stations and trains. “Launch of six-cars would have definitely jacked up the consumption,” an official said.
BMRCL signed an agreement last year with ClearMax Solar to set up 1.4 MW solar installations at Baiyappanahalli and Peenya Metro stations. They will begin generating power only after Phase-2 of the Metro is completed and are expected to generate 10,000 units that would cater to power supply required in its depots.