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April 16, 2019

75-80pc gas price hike inevitable: Ogra chief

National

April 16, 2019

LAHORE: The surge in gas prices is inevitable, said Uzma Adil Khan, Chairperson Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) said here on Monday.

Talking to the media after the public hearing of Ogra about gas tariff hike at a local hotel, Uzma Adil said that there has been no increase in gas prices for past couple of years. She added prices of gas would likely be increased by 75-80 percent from present level. The revised tariff will be implemented from July 1.

There is widening gap between gas purchase and sale price, she said and elaborated that the purchase price of gas has increased while sale prices are capped, which imbalance income and expenditures of gas utilities.

The devaluation of rupee against dollar is also a factor behind the proposed increase in gas tariff. About working on gas utilities, Uzma Adil categorically said that there is no chance of bankruptcy of any gas company including SNGPL and assured that government will not let it happen.

To a question regarding over billing in winter, chairperson Ogra was of the view that the fourth gas slab and pressure factor were the reasons behind overbilling. The consumers who were overcharged will be refunded, she assured.

Prime minister’s committee will determine the responsible persons behind overbilling, she concluded. The representatives of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and other companies also presented various reasons for demand of hike in gas prices in the hearing.

Speaking at a public hearing by Ogra in Lahore, central leader of APCNGA Ghiyas Paracha said that the recovery of all the losses from CNG and other sector is unjustified and unacceptable. He said that gas worth Rs48 billion is being stolen out of which, 93 percent is stolen in the district of Karak in which gas officials were involved. Pointing out the weakness in the gas billing and measurement system he said that gas consumers were over charged.

Paracha said that SNGPL has demanded Rs723 per mmbtu increase in gas tariff and Rs111 per mmbtu increase in LNG tariff if the demand of the company will be accepted then the burden of this price hike will be on the shoulder of the consumers.

He further said that the volume of gas continues to increase but the charges of gas distributors are not decreasing but continue to increase which is against the phenomena. The leader of the CNG sector said that payment for post terminal expanses like regasification, transportation, and unaccounted for gas (UFG) should be made in the rupee and not in the dollar. He expressed his hope that if his suggestions were accepted it will reduce the

price of gas instead on an increase.

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