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Unending ordeal of CNG consumers

November 07, 2012

CNG vehicle owners will face hard times as gas supply to CNG stations will remain suspended for 48 hours from Wednesday 9:00am to Friday 9:00am. – File Photo

KARACHI, Nov 6: While already struggling to get cheaper green gas, the CNG vehicle owners will face hard times as gas supply to CNG stations will remain suspended for 48 hours from Wednesday 9:00am to Friday 9:00am.

The last week proved a tough experience for vehicle owners as the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) had suspended gas supply on Wednesday for 24 hours while the gas supply also remained suspended for 24 hours from 9am on Saturday.

From Thursday to Tuesday consumers had been facing tremendous hardship as many pumps were closed or they had to wait in long lines at operating pumps for over 30 minutes.

People having old model cars usually face problems in instantly switching over to petrol option as it requires clean fuel pump and tank while people having new models are using petrol in case of failing to get CNG.

Consumers continued to complain over low mileage of their vehicles even after filling full gas tank as they were not getting full pressure from the CNG outlets.

They believed that the pump owners had been observing an unannounced strike since the rates of CNG had been reduced to Rs54 per kg. On the contrary CNG stakeholders had been saying that they had not resorted to any strike and pump owners were shutting down their pumps either on their own or due to low pressure.

A number of pumps were also closed on Tuesday but CNG Dealers Association chairman Abdul Sami Khan claimed that hardly 10 per cent pumps were shut.

He linked the closure of pumps to extremely low pressure of gas from the SSGC and that is why the utility company is closing down the pumps for 48 hours.

He said station owners cannot run their pumps on low gas pressure but people believed that owners were deliberately closing down their pumps to avoid selling gas at Rs54 per kg.Sami claimed that local administration had raided some closed pumps, adding: “I had informed Commissioner Karachi that the dealers couldn’t open the pumps owing to low pressure.” He asked the Commissioner to urge the SSGC to release full gas pressure.

“I think the SSGC is providing gas either to other industries or Punjab instead of Sindh,” alleged.

He said Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has summoned a meeting in Islamabad on Wednesday to discuss pricing formula.

When a number of pumps either in Karachi or in up country were closed, no serious action was taken by OGRA.

OGRA on October 26 had sent letters to provincial authorities, SSGCL and SNGPL to trace such stations which had stopped selling gas.

However, SSGCL media manager Inayatullah Ismail told Dawn that “no instructions had been received from OGRA regarding the disconnection of gas supply to those CNG stations who were not supplying CNG on certain reasons.”

He said “SSGC is receiving less gas from different gas fields due to which the line pack (pressure in gas pipeline) position worsened since beginning of this week.”

The company, he said, is trying to maintain uninterrupted gas supply to residential and commercial customers who have no alternative for energy. The next 48 hours gas shutdown in respect to enhance the line pack in order to maintain regular gas supply during the current week.

SSGCL can only disconnect gas supply to CNG stations on the clear cut directive from OGRA for violation of OGRA rules, Inayatullah added.

He also said in that Site area, the complain of low pressure might be correct but in other areas of the city like F.B. Area, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Shahra-e-Faisal areas, the pressure in gas pipeline is sufficient.