LAHORE: The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) has warned the commercial consumers of action (gas supply disconnection) if they continue to ignore the instructions to switch on to the Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG).

The company also says the time to procure expensive RLNG and provide it to the commercial consumers at cheaper rates (at the price of indigenous or system gas) is over as it cannot bear further financial loss.

“We don’t have indigenous gas which is affordable. But we have the RLNG which is expensive and we can provide it to all commercial consumers if they switch to this form of gas by signing the agreement. However, if the commercial consumers avoid signing the agreement, they will face gas disconnection as we don’t afford to keep supplying cheaper / indigenous gas,” SNGPL Managing Director Ali J. Hamdani told Dawn.

“The good thing is that the consumers have started understanding our issues (shortage of indigenous) by signing the agreement. But still there are many who have yet to sign,” he added.

The company had earlier advised the 23,000 commercial consumers using indigenous gas to sign the contracts and switch to RLNG by Oct 31. By the end of October, around 3,000 of the 23,000 consumers signed the contracts and switched to the RLNG. Later, 3,000 more consumers signed the contracts after a team of the SNGPL visited the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) on Oct 31 and requested the business community to help it in achieving the objective.

The LCCI sought extension to the deadline till Nov 10 to convince the consumers to switch to the RLNG. Still, 17,000 consumers are prevaricating on the issue.

The officials informed the LCCI representatives that after meeting KP’s gas demand, Punjab only received about 500 MMCFD which is not enough for the domestic consumers. The team also clarified that since the RLNG and system (indigenous) gas were supplied through the same pipes, the industry would not need to change the equipment after shifting to the RLNG. It also told the participants that the company was trying to find a solution to the problem of differences in production, price and Gas Infrastructure Development Cess in Sindh and Punjab.

It further said that despite the fact that Punjab had no production of gas, it had the highest consumer base in terms of the number of users. It also briefed them that the global energy crisis spurred by the conflict in Ukraine had affected the energy supply chain, and price hikes had taken people around the globe off the roads. Due to the government’s policies, the rupee is stabilising and this will be reflected in the prices of energy as well.

It also pointed out that domestic consumers were the top priority in terms of gas supply. And due to depleting gas reserves, all the commercial consumers including new housing societies have been shifted to the RLNG for the last four or five years.

The SNGPL team again visited the LCCI and urged the business community to convince the commercial consumers to go for the RLNG contracts. The team said more than 6,000 commercial consumers had signed the contracts. Those opting for it would be provided indigenous gas during or by end of March 2023. Moreover, no additional security would be charged from such commercial consumers who were being converted from indigenous gas to RLNG during the winter season, the officials said, adding that the gas bills would be issued on a weekly basis.

The consumers with nil gas consumption would not be required to pay the weekly bills, provided they have furnished affidavit to this extent to the SNGPL.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2022

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