The cash-starved public transporter Indian Railways is planning to come out with a "comprehensive energy efficiency plan" to cut energy costs by Rs 5,000 cr in the next five years.

"Energy bill is the second largest in railways after salary and pension. So we have to use the energy in such a way so as to optimise the cost," PTI quoted Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as saying.

While diesel cost accounts for Rs 22,000 crore of the overall annual costs of the railways, the electricity bill stands at nearly Rs 12,500 crore a year.

"We have to make a road map for it so that railways could reduce the enrgy bill by Rs 5000 cr in the next five years. A comprehensive energy efficiency plan needs to be worked out," Prabhu said at a meeting on "Energy Efficient Technologies in Railways".

Prabhu said that there are many alternatives like solar power, wind energy, bio-diesel, waste to energy projects to cut railway's energy bill and carbon emissions.

The railways have initiated auditing of energy usage to assess the "ground situation", he said.

In August, Prabhu had equated the railways to a patient in an intensive care unit (ICU), saying that the state-owned transporter was hit by "neglect and lack of investment".

He had said the government would spend $120 billion in pubic transporter in the coming five years.

The minister had also said that Indian Railways was planning to announce quarterly financial results, similar to listed companies to enable raising of funds in a big way.

By doing so, the world's fourth largest rail network intended to bring in more transparency in its financial operations. At present, information on accounts related to the railways is announced in the annual railway budget.