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Shortage of gas hits residential localities

KARACHI, Jan 4: Residents of many areas in Karachi have been experiencing a severe shortage of gas for the past several days as gas pressure in stoves and geysers has reduced to the lowest if it has not altogether gone.

Residents of Bahadurabad, PECHS, phases V, VI, VII of Defence Housing Authority and Nazimabad have complained to Dawn about the problem while the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has also admitted that they are finding it difficult to maintain the supply.

“For Karachi we are getting maximum 950 to 1,166 millions of cubic feet per day (MMCFD) gas from various gas fields in Sindh and the demand due to the cold weather, which prompts people to turn their gas heaters and geysers to high, has risen to 1,300MMCFD. In Quetta, too, the usual demand of 20MMCFD has now gone up to 70MMCFD due to winter, which is making it difficult for us to balance supply and demand so we had suspended CNG for three days this week and have now also stopped supply to industry for two days,” SSGC spokesperson Inayatullah Ismail told Dawn on Friday.

“We have an agreement with the industry that in case of a severe gas shortage from Nov 15 to March 31, we can shut off their supply during the time in order to divert gas to our domestic customers,” he said. “So that can also happen if things do not improve,” he added.

“The industry has a choice of switching to diesel or furnace oil, which the domestic consumers cannot do,” he said.

As per a SSGC notification issued on Friday, the gas supply to all industrial and captive power units in Sindh will remain suspended for 48 hours starting Saturday morning.

“The supply will remain suspended from 7am on Saturday to 7am on Monday. The shutdown is in accordance with the gas load-management plan of the federal government being implemented due to the prevailing gas shortage within the SSGC system,” read the notification.

“Industrial customers using gas during the shutdown period will be deprived of the facility for another 48 hours and it will not be restored without a prior no-objection certificate of their association or trade body concerned,” it warned.