ISLAMABAD: Following an approval from the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), two state-owned gas utilities, SNGPL and SSGCL, are annually charging their consumers approximately Rs6 billion under the head deemed ‘gas sales’, it was learnt.
Documents available with Pakistan Today have transpired that OGRA has allowed Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd (SSGCL) to additionally charge customers with ‘gas sales’.
As per documents, SNGPL is recovering Rs4 billion and 20 crore annually from its consumers, while SSGCL is collecting Rs2 billion and 30 crore from its consumers as ‘gas sales’.
It is relevant to mention here that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a reference against the former chairman of OGRA, Tauqeer Saddiq, for granting approvals to both gas utilities to charge the consumers under the head of Unaccounted for Gas (UfG), by jacking up the UfG ratio by two per cent for one year.
However, under the present OGRA chairman Uzman Adil, has increased the ratio of stolen gas by 2.6 per cent and the authority has authorised to recover the loss of stolen gas from gas consumers.
Sources in the Ministry of Petroleum have said that the influential shareholders of SNGPL and SSGCL, have played a major role in charging consumers with an additional amount under the head stolen gas/deemed gas sales. They said this decision is against the interests/rights of gas consumers who pay monthly bills on time, but now the consumers will have to pay an additional amount to clear the loss of stolen gas of the two gas utilities from their own pockets.
“OGRA authority has now made it legal to recover the loss of stolen gas from the consumers by introducing/coining a new term of ‘gas sales’ only to benefit the gas utilities, “, said sources.
Sources further added that protecting the interests of gas consumers and stopping irregular recoveries from them is the primary responsibility of OGRA as per the OGRA Ordinance. However, OGRA, instead of playing fair, has added to the burdens on consumer’s pockets to benefit the shareholders of SNGPL and SSGCL.
The sources also said that although OGRA has granted permission to gas utilities to additionally charge gas consumers, this approval has remained a secret for a long time for the media, contrary to the tradition of OGRA. OGRA is under statutory obligation to hold a public hearing on important matters to know the opinion/comments of all stakeholders.