ISLAMABAD - The report of the four-member committee on inflated gas bills will be submitted to the Prime Minister Imran Khan today (Tuesday), it was learnt reliably here.

The PM secretariat has directed the Petroleum division to submit the report of the four members committee on the inflated gas bills, official source told The Nation here Monday.

The meeting to be held at 12PM will be chaired by the Prime Minister, however before that a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCE) was also convened at 11am to ponder over the gas committee report, said the source .The CCE meeting will be chaired by the Finance Minister Asad Umar and will be updated on inquiry/special audit of inflated bills for gas consumers, said the source.

During winter, the gas bills of domestic consumers have shown abnormal increase which has compelled the consumers to protest in front of several SNGPL offices

A committee constituted by the government to resolve the issue of inflated gas bills has submitted its report and has proposed various options to revise the slab structure and billing mechanism to provide relief to the gas consumers. However, the committee has not recommended any reduction in the gas prices.

Earlier this month, the government had constituted a four-member committee to probe inflated gas bills sent to domestic consumers. According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division), in view of current complaints regarding excessive and inflated gas bills sent to large number of consumers, Secretary Petroleum Asad Hayauddin has constituted a four-member committee to look into the matter. Similarly on February 6, the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCE) had decided to conduct an independent audit of gas bills for the month of December 2018 through external auditors. A meeting of the CCE decided that audit of billing by independent auditor will be in addition to the inquiry regarding excessive billing already conducted by the Petroleum Division. The reports of both the inquiry and the independent audit would be submitted to CCE and then to PM.

The four members committee was constituted following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s directive to federal minister for petroleum to conduct an enquiry into the issue. The domestic consumers were hit hard by increase in gas prices as they were paying the highest of all categories. During winter, the gas bills of domestic consumers have shown abnormal increase which has compelled the consumers to protest in front of several SNGPL offices. For the last couple of weeks, domestic consumers are protesting over high gas bills ranging from 12000 to 35000 for domestic consumers.

The committee was tasked to look into the issue of excessive billing in view of the increased price slab recently introduced by the government and findings about the reason and justification of the excessive domestic bills. The committee was also tasked to look at the new slabs and suggest any rationalisation in view of the unprecedented increase in domestic gas bills.

The four-member committee has submitted its report to the Federal Secretary Petroleum and it has made various proposals to resolve the issue of the inflated bills. One proposal is the one slab benefit to consumers, which means that the same slab should be charged with the same rate and above slabs will be charged with the rate of that particular slab. This way the consumers can be protected from inflated bills. The other proposal is the last three slabs should be provided the slab benefits. There is also a proposal of merging the last slabs in one as it applies the same rates. The source said that the recommendations of the committee will be presented to the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCE) for final approval.

However the independent auditor is likely to submit its final report in March. However, a draft report may be produced in CCE meeting, said the source.

Other agenda item to be discussed today(Tuesday) by CCE meeting includes amendment in decision of the cabinet committee on energy held on 17th December, 2017 and February, 2018 (amendment in Renewable Energy Policy). The other agenda item is power sector performance on efficiency improvement and control theft. The pilot operations for the control of losses have already launched in different Discos and from July onwards it will be started in the entire country.