Ministry wants to punish honest consumers, Ogra opposes

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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (MoPNR), despite stiff resistance by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), seems adamant to penalise gas consumers and fleece Rs11 billion from them against the gas stolen and the gas being used in ‘no-go areas’ of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). To this effect, the ministry has decided to move the federal cabinet for approval. In case the federal cabinet accords approval to this atrocious proposal, the gas tariff of Sui Northern would jack up by Rs9.60 per MMBTU and Sui Southern by Rs5.15 per MMBTU. It may not be out of place to mention that the gas consumers are already paying Rs15 billion every year under the head of UFG (unaccounted for gas).

According to top functionaries, the MoPNR wants the recovery of Rs11 billion from the honest gas consumers for the gas being stolen on account of surge in deterioration of law and order in Balochistan and KP, as the officials of gas utility companies are not able to have the readings of gas meters and detect the gas being stolen in the problematic areas.

Since Ogra has opposed the brutal move of the ministry owing to which it (ministry) has decided to get the nod from the federal cabinet.

The cabinet had earlier asked the ministry and Ogra to develop consensus on the benchmark under which the additional burden will be passed on to the gas consumers of the whole country every year, but the ministry is insisting on passing the Rs11 billion burden on to the consumers whereas Ogra is opposing it from pillar to post and asked that minimum burden should be passed on to the consumers, arguing that it would be sheer injustice to the consumers.

On resistance from Ogra, the ministry has written a letter to the Regulator mentioning that the government on October 11 had issued the policy guidelines on this particular issue, but Ogra has flouted the section 21 by not accepting the guidelines which is why the matter is being placed before the cabinet meeting for the green signal.

According to the officials of the ministry, the gas utilities are of the view that their officials, whenever go for taking the meter readings, they are captured in the problematic areas of Balochistan and KP.

The Sui Southern and Sui Northern also say wherever the gas is stolen, the FIR will get registered, and because of the lengthy legal system, it is not possible to recover the dues against the stolen gas. So it’s is necessary that the consumers bear the colossal loss the companies are facing.

 

Courtesy: The News


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