The Senate Committee on Petroleum on Tuesday informed that during 2014-15 SNGPL and SSGCL incurred line losses of 11.5 percent and 15 percent respectively.

“The price of one percent line losses is about Rs1.75 billion and SNGPL is only charging 4.5 percent of total line losses from the consumers and paying the rest from their own profit,” SNGPL officials informed the meeting of the subcommittee of the Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources here.

The meeting was chaired by the Convener of the committee Senator Nisar Ahmad Khan, discussed the matters pertaining to Unaccounted for Gas (UFG), gas theft in district Karak and the new gas connections. The officials of the SNGPL informed the committee that because of the theft the company is making losses.

Executive Director OGRA informed the committee that during 2014-15 the line losses of SNGPL were 11.5 percent and SSGCL were 15 percent.

Rejecting the cross subsidy to the consumers the convener of the committee Nisar Muhammad said that it incompatible and total injustice to the consumers.

Senator Nisar asked OGRA not to put the burden of gas leakages and UFG on the consumers. He also criticised the company policy for charging urgent fee of Rs 30000 for the gas connection and said that this is injustice to the poor consumers because anyone who cannot afford to pay the urgent fee has to wait for three to four years. “From where a poor villager will bring Rs 30000,” he questioned and asked the companies to change these unfair rules.

Regarding the illegal connection in Karak he said that no one is allowed to take law in their hands and receive a facility without permission. He asked the SNGPL to take tough action against the consumers involved in gas theft. “Besides, FIA, you need to involve NAB to take action against the illegal connections,” Nisar Muhammad said.

The officials of the SNGPL informed the committee that there are 10000 illegal connections in the area and out of 11.5 percent line losses of the company, throughout SNGPL command area, two percent are coming from Karak. During 2014-15 the total cost of losses in district Karak was Rs 3.44 billion. “Out of 11.5 line losses 4.5 percent are measurement/ technical losses while the remaining losses are from gas theft and illegal connections,” GM SNGPL informed.

Regarding transferring the burden of the UFG to the consumers the SNGPL officials informed that it is not burden on the poor consumers because the consumers in the lowers slabs are getting gas on subsidies rates. The total number of SNGPL consumers are 4.6 million out of this number 85 percent comes under first two slabs and government is providing subsidies to these two slabs. “There are three slabs of gas consumers’ first slab with 100 cm, second 200-300 cm and third slab 500 cm and above,” he maintained.

General Manager SNGPL KP, Arbab Saqib, said that the losses in Karak are two percent of the total losses of the company and its total cost during 2014-15 was about Rs 3.44 billion.

There was a proposal, from both the provincial and central government, to legalise the illegal connections but due to high interest rates on loan from bank the issue was shelved. However he said that there is consensus between Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the officials of the SNGPL, on the removal of the illegal connection from the Karak district.

Chief Minister KP has written a letter in this regard and has asked for the utilisation of the ten percent royalty on the uplift of gas producing district and the removal of illegal connections, GM SNGPL added.

“We have issued demand notices to 1800 people, in Karak, for gas connections but they refused to deposit the money,” Arbab informed.

During past few months action has been taken against the industries involved in gas theft and 70 to 80 such industries have been closed, he added.