A parliamentary panel has recommended that domestic consumers should be provided gas three times a day for cooking purposes, especially in Punjab where demand rises 200% in winter.
A proposal in that regard was floated by National Assembly member Malik Ibrar Ahmad in a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet, chaired by Rana Muhammad Hayat Khan, on Friday.
He said domestic consumers should be provided gas three times a day, first in the morning from 6am to 9am and then in the afternoon and in the evening. The domestic consumers were facing the worst shortage but supply was being made to the industry by getting kickbacks, he alleged.
“Gas companies should come forward and tell the people responsible for distributing gas as people were protesting against the shortage, bringing a bad name for the government.”
He also alleged that Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) was resorting to gas load-shedding for domestic consumers in Rawalpindi and adjoining areas to ensure supply to parliament, the presidency and the Prime Minister Office.
Briefing the committee, SNGPL Deputy Managing Director Amjad Latif said gas supply on the SNGPL system was 1,000 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) against the demand for 2,800 mmcfd.
“We are facing a 200% increase in demand in winter,” he said, adding gas supply from different fields like Zamzama, Sawan and Badr had decreased.
He said 3 to 3.5 million gas connections were being provided to the consumers on an annual basis despite the depletion of reserves. These new connections were resulting in an increase of 70 to 80 mmcfd in gas demand.
He informed the panel that hundreds of connections had been cut off due to installation of compressors, which had sucked gas.
SNGPL is already working on a plan to provide gas to residential consumers in the morning and evening for cooking. However, Latif said it would be difficult to provide gas three times a day due to technical reasons. He denied that gas was being provided to the industries.
Another committee member Javed Ali Shah called for checking the compressors installed by domestic consumers, saying company officials could undertake the exercise by evaluating the monthly bills.
“If the bill amount increases despite gas load-shedding, it indicates that compressors have been installed.”
Petroleum Ministry’s Additional Secretary Naeem Malik said gas utilities – SNGPL and SSGC – were facing a loss of Rs50 billion due to provision of cheaper gas to the domestic consumers.
He pointed out that the prescribed gas price was Rs500 per million British thermal units (mmbtu) whereas domestic consumers were paying at the rate of Rs106 to Rs212 per mmbtu.
He said a major gas volume was being supplied to domestic consumers and therefore the price should be increased, adding some countries were providing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to the domestic consumers.
“We are working on the LPG policy and a draft summary has been submitted to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) to stop pipe gas to new towns and villages,” he said, adding the domestic consumers would be supplied LPG for cooking purposes.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2014.
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