ISLAMABAD: The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has asked the government and the Senate to discourage ‘frivolous’ complaints from vested interests that waste the time of relevant institutions.

While replying to a query by the Cabinet Division, the regulator wrote: “Malicious, baseless and motivated complaints only waste governments’ precious time, which may please be discouraged at all levels.”

The cabinet division had sought comments from the Ogra on a complaint to the Senate by an “unregistered LPG Industries Association of Pakistan” that its chairman was mistreated by an Ogra member over complaints about LPG price hike.

The regulator replied that it had an ‘open door policy’ and interacted with all stakeholders i.e. its licensees, government officials, associations as well as general public to solve problems and improve services that fall under its mandate.

It added that the complainant, whose association was registered as a trade body with the commerce ministry, was given a “patient hearing”. However, he demanded to stop actions by district authorities, on Ogra’s directives, against overcharging and sought various concessions including different LPG prices for different areas which was a policy matter and could not be acceded to by Ogra.

The regulator explained that as the LPG supply chain was disrupted due to floods, some distributors started overcharging the consumers. The Ogra with the help of local administration and the National Highway Authority addressed the bottlenecks and ensured the supply.

Moreover, the demand to direct local LPG producers to supply the gas to only those companies which are importing at least equivalent to their local share was outside the Ogra’s jurisdiction, the regulator contended.

The LPG market was a blend of local and imported gas in the ratio of about 50:50 in summer and 40:60 in winter and gas’ import is guided by the demand and any LPG licensee can import the gas in any quantity it can sell.

The Ogra called the plea for the LPG quota “unrealistic, superfluous and an attempt to divert the attention from those involved in overcharging”.

The regulator pointed out the complaint represented a “bogus” association with name and title ‘Distributors Asso­ciation of Pakistan (DAP)’, which was not registered and hence cannot be treated as “collective bargaining agent”.

On the contrary, the DAP was asked to provide the requisite documentation to prove its registration, but it failed to do so and the Ministry of Energy was requested not to entertain its correspondence, the regulator said.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2022

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