THE utility bill I received from the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) for the month of May shows the actual monthly gas consumption charges to be Rs249, inclusive of meter rent and general sales tax, but the overall bill stands at Rs2,830, which includes an additional gas supply deposit of Rs2,574.
When I went to the nearby SSGC customer facilitation centre to inquire about this anomaly, I was told by the staff that the same would be charged every month.
On the back of the bill, the SSGC says: “The gas supply deposit (GSD) has been determined/calculated on the basis of gas consumption pattern for preceding financial year and held equivalent to three months consumption.” The Urdu version of the same text, as mentioned on the bill, says ‘previous year’; there is no mention of the “preceding financial year”.
The SSGC has imposed these unfair and unjust charges, as all gas consumers have already deposited the GSD at the time of filing of application.
I have also come to know that it has been imposed selectively on some consumers, and not on all consumers. Besides, it is levied on the basis of three-month consumption, which means winter months – October, November and December – during which the consumption goes up as geysers are also used.
This amounts to a disguised extortion of the worst order for the captive consumers. Will SSGC authorities, the federal government department concerned and the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) set the matter right?
Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2021