ISLAMABAD: The caretaker government on Monday approved a massive increase in gas prices to add to the woes of inflation-hit masses who have been battling with soaring utility bills.
The new prices, effective from November 1, will see up to 173% increase in gas prices for non-protected domestic consumers, 136.4% for commercial, 91% for export and 83% for non-export industry.
Meanwhile, fixed monthly charges for protected consumers were revised upward from Rs10 to Rs400, for non-protected from Rs460 to Rs1000, and for higher slabs up to Rs2000.
The price for non-protected users consuming up to 0.25 cubic meters will be Rs121 per mmbtu, up to 0.5 cubic meters will be Rs150 per mmbtu, for users with 0.60 cubic meters Rs200 per mmbtu, while 0.9 cubic meters Rs250 per mmbtu.
Rates for people using 1 cubic metre of gas per month have been jacked up from the previous Rs400 per mmbtu to Rs1,000 mmbtu.
Those with gas usage of up to 1.5 cubic metres — who were previously paying Rs600 per mmbtu — will now have to pay Rs1,200 per mmbtu.
Meanwhile, small commercial users such as local tandoors will pay Rs697 per mmbtu from November 1.
The power sector will have to pay Rs1,050 to Rs3,890 per mmbtu. The cement industry will pay Rs4,400 per mmbtu.
Rates for the export industry have been set from Rs2,100 to Rs2,400 per mmbtu, whereas non-export industries will pay between Rs2,200 to Rs2,500 mmbtu.
The Power Division, in its press release, maintained that the interim setup had to increase gas prices following Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority's advice to avoid Rs400 billion being added to the already ballooning circular debt.
The authority highlighted that 57% of the domestic gas connections fall in the protected category where there is no increase in gas price.
"In the name of affordability, some of the most profitable businesses of the country are availing the cheapest natural gas. This has unduly enriched certain sectors while depriving the lowest income class including poor farmers and small-scale industries," the statement mentioned.
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