LAHORE - The Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) has sent the gas bills to consumers with an unprecedented increase of over 50 to 60 per cent in the name of ‘charges at old tariff’.  The 'old charges' are in addition to a whopping 40 to 50 per cent increase in gas tariff by the government over a span of last two to three years.

The consumers which already grilled by rising inflation are in shock and do not know the reason behind the bombshell in term of gas bills. The majority of the company officials were not available to comment on the issue. However, a SNGPL employee said he had also received Rs 2,000 more than the original billing of Rs740.

Jawad Asharf, an official in the SNGPL media cell, said the consumers were informed through the advertisement that the Ogra had increased the tariff on the plea of the company.

“I have consumed 3.7MMBTU from Dec 6 to Jan 7 with original billing of Rs 1,963 but the company has added Rs 7,680 to my bill. I am shocked and don’t know what to do,” said a consumer resident of A-I Town Nishtar Block.

A survey carried out by this scribe showed that a typical householder is finding it hard to make both ends meet for the month of January. "My gas bill has trebled in a year, and I dread to think what will happen in summer with electricity bills skyrocketing," he lamented.

Industrialists said the gas tariff hike would hamper exports of the country as it would render Pakistani products uncompetitive with respect to Indian and Chinese products. The govt notified an 18 per cent increase in gas tariff from January 1, 2010 which was earlier revised upwards by eight per cent and nine per cent in January and July 2009, respectively. Consumers faced maximum hike in 2011 and 2012.