LAHORE: Domestic consumers across Punjab continue facing gas loadshedding, especially during the night hours, despite the weather getting hotter and the fasting month of Ramzan starting from April 3rd.

The consumers living in different areas of Lahore and other districts complain that the gas supply situation is worsening gradually. The problem is especially acute in the tail-end areas of Lahore where consumers either get no gas or the pressure is extremely low during the day time. The situation is not different in other districts of the province.

The low pressure is also forcing the consumers to use compressors or other devices during Iftar and Sehr timings to get enough gas to cook food.

On the other hand, the gas supply to the non-export industry and CNG sector has also been suspended with a stated objective of ensuring supply to the domestic consumers. However, the closure has brought little relief for most of the households, Dawn has learnt.

Problem persists despite denial of gas to industry, CNG sector

“We have no gas the whole day. And even during Iftar and Sehr timings, we don’t get adequate pressure. This is forcing many consumers to use compressors,” Ishtiaq, a Kasur-based consumer told Dawn. “Though it is a matter of grave concern, the government seems least bothered to resolve the issue,” he deplored.

According to another consumer who lives in Lahore, the tail-end areas are experiencing extremely low gas pressure or getting no gas at all. “The [gas supply] problem has been persisting since start of winter, and there has been no considerable improvement in the situation to date. We mostly get no gas, except during Sehr and Iftar timings,” a consumer living in a locality near Chuburji complains.

Ikram, a resident of Johar Town, Lahore, says in night hours (from 10pm to 3am), the gas supply is turned off by the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL). “I had never witnessed such a situation in Johar Town and its adjoining localities in the past. But for the last couple of years, these areas have also started facing gas supply issues,” he says, adding that for the last one month or so, the residents have been facing gas loadshedding during night hours.

Talking to Dawn, an official source revealed that the entire Lahore had been experiencing gas loadshedding in night hours. “It is not an issue in Johar Town alone, as it is happening almost in all parts of Lahore,” he added.

According to a Khanewal-based consumer, the situation has worsened in the area recently as there is no gas during the whole day. “We only get supply during Sehr and Iftar timings,” he says.

A source in the energy ministry’s petroleum division says though the government is trying hard to meet the demand of domestic consumers in Punjab, the situation is not improving despite suspension of supply to the non-export industry and the CNG sector.

“The indigenous or system gas supply to Punjab is around 900MMCFD. Similarly, the Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) supply is around 800MMCFD. Of the total 1,700MMCFD supply to the province, 500MMCFD and around 350MMCFD gas is being given to the power sector (for the gas-fired plants) and industry, respectively,” the official requesting anonymity explained.

He says the gas supply to domestic sector (after closure of gas to non-export industry and CNG sector, which use around 125MMCFD) has reached up to 850MMCFD, but the actual demand of this sector has crossed 1,000MMCFD despite the hot weather. “So we are facing a gas shortfall ranging between 150 to 200MMCFD for domestic sector,” he says.

The official says another reason behind the gas shortfall is the default allegedly on the part of some foreign companies in supplying LNG timely to the Pakistan LNG Limited despite placement of orders.

“The situation will improve only when the demand of domestic and other sectors is met,” he clarified, adding that the pressure-related issues in Lahore would be resolved in near future as three more supply points were under construction these days.

Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2022

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