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Public Hearing On Gas Price Hike Ends

BERC rejects some firms’ ‘irrational’ proposals  

Petrobangla spent Tk 9000cr in9 months to import LNG

Published : Friday, 15 March, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 136
Special Correspondent

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) Chairman Monowar Islam has asked the gas distribution companies to submit rational and logical proposals before the Commission to remove consumers' concern. "We are here not to listen to the illogical proposals from the utility agencies. We never increase tariff as per their recommendations. We have an independent technical committee where the proposals are evaluate first and then we (Commission) sit to discuss the issue and latter announce our verdict in this regard," he said during the concluding day of the public hearing on gas tariff issue on Thursday.

BERC already rejected some companies' proposals in the last four days as it observed those were "irrational." Taking part in the discussion, Petrobangla, the state-owned oil and gas corporation, has claimed that it had spent Tk 9,000 crore in nine months to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from abroad that was a huge budget deficit of the state-owned company.

Narrating the gloomy scenario of the Company's financial statement before the panel of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission, Director (Finance) Harun-Ur-Rashid said we did not like to make any profit through selling LNG in market, we want to offset the deficit of the company, otherwise, it would create a serious problem for us.

"We want uninterrupted gas supply to all including households but unfortunately, we are running out of gas, so we have started importing gas from abroad in LNG form, which needs money," he said.

He said, "We failed in exploring oil and gas in proper manner in the past. We lack knowledge in offshore drilling, we want to go for PSC with the IOCs but they said our offered price was not a lucrative one," Harun said.
"But the Petrobangla requires rational tariff for uninterrupted gas supply in grid and for this we will require to import LNG," he said.

Meanwhile, on Thursday two companies presented their tariff hike proposals. According to the revised proposals, Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Ltd and Pachimanchal Gas Distribution Company have demanded 208 per cent hike for the gas consumed by power plants, 211 per cent for fertilizer companies, 96 per cent for captive power, 132 per cent for industries, 41 per cent for commercial entities and 50 per cent for CNG-run vehicles.

They are seeking 80 per cent rise in monthly gas bills for both single-burner and double-burner cooking stove, from Tk 750 to Tk 1,350 and from Tk 800 to Tk 1,440 respectively.

They want 102.85 per cent increase in the weighted average price to Tk 14.91 from Tk 7.35 now. The companies are largely seeking the hike because of the addition of 500 million cubic feet of gas per day through the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from August last year.

Addressing the corruption issues in the energy sector, Energy and Mineral Resources Division Joint Secretary Jahir Raihan said, "It's impossible to launch crusade against corruption in the energy sector in a day."
CNG Filling Station and Conversion Owner Association general secretary Farhan Nur Bhuyan said the transport sector will face great trouble if the gas tariff was hiked.

The proposed tariff hike will also create unrest at the consumers' end, he said. He called upon the government to scrap the tariff hearing.
Md Mohiuddin, president of cell-phone owner association, requested the BERC to scrap the hearing considering social responsibility.
He said the general consumers are now panicked due to move to hike the price of gas once again.

A human right activist said the government does not need to hike the natural gas tariff if they can stop corruption in the energy sector.   
According to the revised proposals, Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Ltd and Pachimanchal Gas Distribution Company have demanded 208 percent hike for the gas consumed by power plants, 211 percent for fertilizer companies, 96 per cent for captive power, 132 per cent for industries, 41 per cent for commercial entities, and 50 per cent for CNG-run vehicles.

They are seeking 80 per cent rise in monthly gas bills for both single-burner and double-burner cooking stove, from Tk 750 to Tk 1,350 and from Tk 800 to Tk 1,440 respectively.  They want 102.85 per cent increase in the weighted average price to Tk 14.91 from Tk 7.35 now.

The companies are largely seeking the hike because of the addition of 500 million cubic feet of gas per day through the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from August last year. BERC Chairman Monowar Islam, moderated the hearing while BERC members Rahman Murshed, Mahmudul Huq Bhuiyan, Md Abdul Aziz Khan and Md Mizanur Rahman were present.




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