KARACHI: The Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd (SSGCL) has decided to suspend gas supply to all the compressed natural gas (CNG) stations across Sindh and Balochistan from Dec 1 (8am) to Feb 15, 2022 (10pm).
The government has approved a load management plan to make gas available to domestic and commercial customers on top priority basis during winter season.
The SSGCL, in a statement, said gas supply to all captive power plants (CPPS) of non-export industrial units was discontinued last Friday till further orders due to this winter spike. However, all general industries, zero-rated export industries including its CPPs and fertiliser sector will continue to get the gas.
The volume of gas curtailed from suspension to CPPs of non-export units and CNG sector would be diverted to domestic customers to enable them in catering their enhanced gas loads arising due to the winter season.
Outlet owners reject the two-and-half-month closure
In Balochistan, supply of additional gas is a must for the survival of human lives since gas serves as a lifeline to a huge population that has to keep itself warm through water and space heating gas appliances in extremely low temperatures.
The SSGCL said it looks forward to the CNG sector for understanding the gravity of the situation and expects its cooperation for serving the domestic customers better, through uninterrupted gas supplies.
While rejecting the two-and-a-half months closure of outlets, the All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) termed the move as an unjustified cruelty which would not be acceptable.
In a statement APCNGA leader Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said the SSGCL did not consult stakeholders before deciding to close the CNG stations for 2.5 months. He said it was unfair to shut down the Sindh’s CNG sector, which is paying the highest price of $15 per unit for liquefied natural gas (LNG). On the other hand, the sectors which are paying just $2-6 per unit are being promoted, he added.
“The CNG sector is not only ensuring cut in the oil import bill but also helping to reduce urban pollution as compared to other fuels. This environment-friendly fuel facilitates transportation to the poor, but it is subjected to frequent tariff and tax hikes,” he lamented.
Mr Paracha also said that gas utilities cut off gas supply to the CNG sector whenever they want which affects the employment and business of millions of people.
APCNGA Senior Vice-President Shoaib Khanjee said the gas consumption by over 600 CNG stations in Sindh had plummeted to 13mmcfd from 85-90mmcfd in mid 2020 due to profiling by the utility company from 10pm to 6am. “We are worried over massive unemployment of thousands of people associated directly and indirectly with CNG business,” he feared.
Meanwhile, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Mian Nasser Hyatt Magoo on Monday urged the government to take effective measures to ensure uninterrupted gas supply to industries as well as reduce electricity tariffs.
Slamming the federal government’s gas suspension decision, Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Sheikh said it was a cruel and unjust step which would increase the unemployment in the province rendering thousands of people jobless.
Mr Imtiaz said that the federal government was constantly victimising the province that produces most of the gas in the country. “Gas should be supplied to Sindh in a fair manner under Article 158,” he asserted.
Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2021