The Sui Northern Gas Pipe Line (SNGPL) has severed gas connections of almost 18,735 consumers in first three months of the calendar year owing to default of nearly Rs 894.206m, media sources have reported.
SNGPL is reported to have cut off around 450 commercial consumers between January 2017 and March 2017 due to outstanding debts of approximately Rs 74.047m.
Similarly, gas connections of 74 domestic special consumers have been cut due to non-payment of Rs 18.793m during the period under consideration while gas supply to around 101 industrial consumers was cut as a result of defaulting on nearly Rs 561.607m.
Moreover, 18,110 domestic gas connections were cut on account of non-payment of around Rs 239.757m in the three-month period.
More than 10,000 gas connections have been reported to have been severed during six months from July 2016 to Jan 2017 in Lahore alone, owing to non-payment of dues and violations.
Data further revealed that SNGPL disconnected gas connections of nearly 1300 consumers in six months over violations of rules and theft, including 700 disconnections for use of compressors, 158 disconnections over violation of contracts, 97 disconnections for direct use, 46 disconnections for unauthorised extension, 56 disconnections for direct bypass, 73 disconnections for fake meters and 169 disconnections for domestic to commercial use.
The Lahore region accounts for nearly 18pc of the company’s total consumers (5.1 million).The total number of consumers in Lahore region is 982,748 (domestic), 12,988 (commercial), 917 (industrial), 274 (RLNG) and 985 (special domestic).
SNGPL Lahore Region General Manager Qaisar Masood is reported to have stated that the company delays connections for at least one month if severed on account of theft or similar violations as a punishment. Masood further added that the use of compressors is discouraged as the mechanism draws on the gas supply of nearby users which is a violation to company laws.
He further added that honest consumers are affected as a result of crimes committed by habitual defaulters who also affect company’s revenues for many years.
According to SNGPL rules, once the connection has been severed, it cannot be restored before seven days of removal of the meter in addition to heavy fines that are imposed for violating the contract of connection.
Masood further revealed that as many as 250 consumer connections had been cut for using compressors during the last winter season.
He further informed that the company has launched an extensive media campaign to discourage illegal use of compressors and to create awareness regarding energy conservation through use of conical baffles, geyser timing device and solar water heaters.
The SNGP Lahore region has appointed special teams for cater to consumer complaints regarding low gas pressure during peak winter season including eight survey teams, 68 customer service teams, 18 maintenance teams.
Masood further revealed that the UFG (Unaccounted for Gas) losses during the current fiscal year had reduced by 825 MMCF, which was 1.34pc less than the previous year, which helped the company save Rs270m. He added that 4000-5000 new connections were being provided on a monthly bases, while the annual target stood at 70,000 new connections. Out of the total, Lahore region receives 400-500 applications for new connections on daily basis and almost 300 applicants are accommodated on a daily basis.
SNGPL Lahore Region Customer Service Head Wahid Sani stated that during the year 2016, the company attended a total of 216,561 consumer complaints including 95,722 related to leakage and 53,817 to gas stoppage and low pressure.