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BERC: No decision yet on gas price hike

  • Published at 05:44 pm December 18th, 2016
  • Last updated at 11:25 am December 19th, 2016
BERC: No decision yet on gas price hike
Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) has yet to make a decision on increasing gas prices, said its member Rahman Murshed on Sunday. “The issue was not discussed at the regular meeting of the commission today [Sunday],” he told the Dhaka Tribune. Sources said the meeting took place with Murshed and BERC acting chairman Md Maksudul Haque in attendance. At least three members of the five-member commission, including the chairman, must be present to make such a decision, they added. Earlier, Maksudul told reporters that the price hike would be announced any day. But when asked on Sunday, he said the commission had not made a final decision in that regard. He hoped that he would be able to announce it before his tenure at the BERC ended. Maksudul's stint as the acting chairman of BERC ends on Friday. Meanwhile, a high official at the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources said increasing the gas prices before Maksudul's tenure ended would not be prudent. It might negatively affect the ruling party candidate contesting Narayanganj mayoral polls, which will take place on Thursday, he told the Dhaka Tribune. In addition, the government does not want the new prices to be effective before February, he added requesting anonymity. However, several officials involved with the commission believe that the acting chairman may take the step and announce the price hike. But they do not think it would bode well for the commission. The gas prices were last revised on September 1 last year. The energy regulatory body has already finalised the revised gas prices for consumers at all levels around the country. If the revised prices are put into effect, household users will have to pay Tk750 every month instead of the current Tk650 for double-burner stoves, and Tk700 instead of the current Tk600 for single-burner stoves, said a BERC official. Earlier in August, BERC held an eight-day public hearing on gas transmission tariff and user-end price hike proposals submitted by seven state-owned gas transmission and distribution companies. The companies initially proposed a massive 85% price hike for household users: Tk1,200 per month for double-burner stoves and Tk1,100 for single-burner stoves. In addition, they proposed a 140% increase for consumers using meter-based burners: Tk16.8 instead of the current Tk7 per cubic metre of gas. The proposal also asked to increase the prices of gas supplied to industrial establishments, i.e. power plants, tea gardens, fertiliser companies and different factories.
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