New Delhi, Nov 6 (UNI) The Railway Ministry and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) today inked a trend-setting agreement to set up a 1,000 MW captive power plant at Nabinagar in Bihar, which will allow Railways to slash its annual electricity bill of Rs 5700 crore by Rs 400-600 crore.
The joint venture agreement, which was signed in the presence of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, provides for setting up the power plant -- christened Bharatiya Rail Bijlee Company Ltd -- at a cost of Rs 5,352 crore.
NTPC and Railways would hold 74 per cent (Rs 1188 crore) and 26 per cent (Rs 417 crore) equity respectively in the project, which is to be completed within four years.
The average cost of generation of electricity from this plant will be Rs 2.13 per unit. After paying wheeling and transmission charges, the Railways will save Rs 400-600 crore per annum and thereby reduce its operating expenses by 1-2 per cent.
The Railways have around 18,000 km of tracks under electric traction and require 2,000 MW of electricity. Currently, the average cost of electricity bought by Railways is Rs 4.28 per unit.
Mr Prasad said this would be the first captive power plant of the Railways and would provide cheaper power for its traction purposes.
''Railways spend about Rs 5700 crore per annum towards electric energy for traction and non-traction purposes. We have been purchasing a major portion of our power requirments from State Electricity Boards (SEBs), which charge 2-3 times the rate at which the Railways purchase power from Central generating agencies like NTPC,'' he pointed out.
Mr Prasad said the project had been accorded mega status and the electricity from the Nabinagar plant in Aurangabad district would be utilised for 164 traction sub-stations located in eastern and western regions of the country.
''The Railways' consumption of electricity will go up substantially when the third line -- Dedicated Freight Corridors -- becomes operational,'' he said, adding that the captive power plant would help enormously in ensuring uninterrupted power supply required for the DFCs.