Govt. intends to reimburse Rs 2.8 bln inflated gas bills before upcoming winter

ISLAMABAD, Sep 11 (APP):The government has decided to reimburse an amount of Rs 2.8 billion, charged additionally by the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) due to unusual gas pressure during the last winter season, to consumers before the upcoming cold weather.

“OGRA, after its calculation, had recommended that Rs 2.8 billion were additionally charged from the consumers, and on this, we [the government] had issued directives for the reimbursement. But, currently the matter is pending with the Lahore High Court, and as soon as the case is disposed of, the reimbursement will be made,” official sources told APP.

They said the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) and SNGPL had been directed to get the case disposed of at the earliest. “The overcharged amount will be returned when the case is discharged, which we hope will be done before the coming winter.”

Following the complaints of inflated gas bills, the government had ordered three inquiries including an internal, by a chartered accountants’ firm – AF Ferguson – and the PM’s Inspection team.The quarters concerned had examined readings of gas pressure for the months of December-2018, January and February-2019 to determine the pressure factor in the inflated bills, they added.

Answering a question, the sources said the Petroleum Division of Energy Ministry would launch a rigorous countrywide gas conservation drive during the current month to create awareness among masses for judicious use of the commodity and avoiding excessive billing.

Under the drive, they said the consumers would be educated that a geyser and heater consumed how much gas during 24 hours, adding the citizens would be helped in installing efficient appliances and equipment to save the commodity.

The sources said both Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL), along with all stakeholders, would actively participate in the gas conservation drive.
They advised the gas consumers to avoid excessive use of gas and install efficient gas appliances to maintain smooth flow in transmission lines till the tail-end during the peak winter.

They were of the view that consumers should also install quality gas appliances with proper fittings, avoiding rubber pipes, as it would help curtail their utility bills, ensure safety and save the commodity for its judicious use by all consumers.

Commenting on gas pipelines and distribution system, the sources said mechanism of utility bills’ payment was being revamped, under which gas bill would be delivered to consumers within 48 hours after its issuance, having time-limit (due date) of 15 days to deposit.This system, they said, had been agreed, in principle but would take one to two months for implementation.

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