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Metro 3 says power tariff hike to hit fares, seeks relief

Metro 3 says power tariff hike to hit fares, seeks relief

 

Mumbai:

With Tata Power proposing incremental tariff hikes for the Colaba-Seepz Metro 3 project from April 1, officials fear passenger fares could be impacted once the 33-km underground project starts running. Power cost makes up almost two-thirds of a Metro’s operational expenses.

On Tuesday, Metro-3 officials appeared at a public hearing by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) to appeal for a reduction in tariff and waiving of wheeling charges to “make the project viable for commuters”.

“Line 3 is an underground network where we have larger power requirement ranging from 90 MVA in 2021 to 110 MVA in 2025. The multi-year tariff proposal of Tata Power (see box) mentions increase in energy charges…, which will be a huge burden. Any increase in power tariff will increase Metro fares, which will affect Mumbaikars,” Praphull Wagh, GM (electrical) of the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, told MERC. “With these hikes, there will be an extra burden of Rs 46 crore in 2021 and Rs 80 crore in 2025,” he pointed out.

Wagh said Metro operations are similar to the Railways, yet the latter gets cheaper power. Pointing out the examples of Kochi and Bengaluru Metros (see box), he argued for a discount for the Metros as compared to railways as it can cross-subsidise with freight earnings. “Why should the rate for Metro-3 in Mumbai be higher than the local railways?” he asked.

Wagh also requested the commission to waive wheeling charges, as the Metro project involved laying of cables and transmission lines near stations.

A Tata Power representative told MERC “the tariff proposal was prepared based on average cost of supply”. MERC will take the final call on the tariff proposals for the next five years.