• Thursday, Dec 01, 2022
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Gas companies rebuked over three-year failure to install pre-paid meters

  • Published at 06:42 pm June 21st, 2018
  • Last updated at 06:42 pm June 21st, 2018
Photo:Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The regulatory body ordered the gas companies on August 27, 2015 to install pre-paid meters for domestic and commercial users, and electronic volume corrector (EVC) meters

Jalalabad Gas Transmission and Distribution System Ltd (JGTDSL) has still not installed pre-paid gas meters for any of its 221,651 households nationwide despite a 2015 order by the regulator.

A mass hearing organized by Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) in Dhaka on Thursday was also told that Sundarban Gas Company Ltd (SGCL) has only 13 households using pre-paid meters from its total of 1,233 connections.

Dr M Shamsul Alam, energy advisor for the Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB), questioned the competencies of both companies at the hearing, held at TCB auditorium in Karwan Bazar.

“Why did you not inform BERC about the matter for three long years?” he asked.

The regulatory body ordered the gas companies on August 27, 2015 to install pre-paid meters for domestic and commercial users, and electronic volume corrector (EVC) meters.

However, BERC member Md Abdul Aziz Khan claimed during Thursday’s hearing that pre-paid gas meters “are not applicable” for commercial users.

The mass hearings follow a government move to increase gas prices and distribution charges to offset the cost of importing liquified natural gas (LNG) from Qatar. 

The LNG is expected to be added to the national energy lines by this month to help meet a daily shortfall in the national gas supply of around one billion cubic feet (bcf), according to the state-run energy provider, Petrobangla.

SGCL has proposed a 404% hike in the distribution charge to Tk1.487 for each unit of gas, while JGTDSL wants it raised by 54% to Tk0.3839. 

BERC member Md Abdul Aziz Khan said the government has not yet set a price for liquified petroleum gas (LPG) in order to bring more competition into the market. 

“The commission kept the market open for all players to serve in the interest of the consumers,” he said. “The more the market gets competitive, the more consumer friendly it becomes.”

Also at Thursday’s hearing, a JGTDSL official said Petrobangla puts extra pressure on the company by setting a dividend target without taking into consideration the company’s annual profit.

“The state-run corporation has sought a Tk50crore dividend from JGTDSL for the current year,” he said. 

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