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LAHORE: As Punjab continues to face a shortfall of 200 to 300MMCFD despite the supply of additional regaisfied liquefied natural gas (RLNG), the consumers’ complaints related to extremely low gas pressure are increasing gradually.

The situation in Lahore is deteriorating, as those living in the areas connected with the pipeline from the tail end point are facing extremely low gas pressure all the time.

“It’s better to say that there has been no gas since the start of the winter, as we’re using electric heaters and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders to prepare tea and meals,” Maqsood, of Model Town, told Dawn on Monday.

Saleem, of Shalamar, is also facing the same issue.

“In every winter, we live in a pathetic condition. So, in the absence of natural gas, we have no option but to use the LPG for cooking,” he added.

The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) says that the situation would improve once its system start receiving additional supply of the entire 600MMCFD of additional RLNG. “From Sunday (December 24), we started receiving around 450MMCFD of the total 600MMCFD additional RLNG from the new LNG terminal built at Port Qasim (Karachi). Since the terminal is new, it would start making full supply of 600MMCFD in the next couple of days,” SNGPL Managing Director Amjad Lateef told Dawn.

He said that at present, the company was receiving over 1,000MMCFD of the RLNG (600MMCFD from the first LNG terminal and 450MMCFD from the other. The company also was receiving 1,300 to 1,400MMCFD of indigenous gas, the system gas in the SNGPL’s term. But the total demand (including the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) ranges between 2,500 to 2,600MMCFD these days. So, the SNGPL system is facing a shortfall of 200 to 300MMCFD that is mainly affecting the consumers of Punjab province.

“Compressors being used by the consumers in several localities to extract gas are also lowering the gas pressure in far flung area. And despite a vigorous campaign to disconnect supply and remove meters, the people continue to use compressors,” he said.

He appealed to consumers to avoid using compressors, as it may not only disrupting gas supply but also harm their lives.

The SNGPL chief said 2.4 million applications for new domestic gas connections were pending with several field and regional offices of the company. At present, the total number of domestic consumers is 5.5 million. Besides this, the total number of commercial and industrial consumers is 55,000 and 7,000 respectively. Nearly 2.4 million applications for gas connections are lying pending with the company.

“The number of new applications continues increasing due to increasing population,” he said.

Despite various issues, the company is accepting new applications and provides gas connections to 500,000 applicants every year.

Published in Dawn, December 26th, 2017