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2019-03-14 10:45:04 BdST

BERC to take 'logical' decision on gas tariff hike after hearing

The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) will take 'logical' decision following the public hearing for raising gas tariff hike, BERC Chairman Monwar Islam said on Wednesday.

The commission is hearing from all the stakeholders concerned, which will help it to take proper decision, he said.

The BERC chairman's comment came on the third day of the public hearing at TCB auditorium in the capital against the tariff hike proposals of the state-owned Bakhrabad Gas Distribution Company Ltd (BGDCL) and Jalalabad Gas Distribution Company Ltd (JGDCL).

Their proposals were identical with the proposal of the country's largest gas marketing and distribution Company - Titas Gas Marketing and Distribution Company Ltd (TGMDCL).

They proposed raising gas tariff for household consumers by 80 percent, and up to 211 percent for consumers of different sectors including power, industry, and motor vehicles.

According to their proposals, a consumer having single-burner stove would have to pay Tk 1,350 per month instead of the existing rate of Tk 750, while a two-burner stove user would have to pay Tk 1,440 per month instead of Tk 800.

The metered household consumers would have to pay Tk 16.41 per cubic metre (one unit) instead of Tk 9.10.

The companies also sought that the power plants would pay Tk 9.74 for per unit of gas instead of the existing rate of Tk 3.16, accounting a 208 per cent hike.

Besides, the fertiliser factories would pay Tk 8.44 per unit instead of Tk 2.71 with a hike by 211 per cent.

For the captive power plants, they proposed to increase gas tariff by 96 per cent to Tk 18.88 per unit from Tk 9.62.

Both the state-run gas marketing and distribution companies proposed to hike gas tariff by 132 per cent for the industries to Tk 18.04 per unit against the existing rate of Tk 7.76 per unit.

They proposed to raise tariff by 50 per cent for the CNG stations to Tk 48 per unit from Tk 32, and proposed to raise 41 per cent tariff for commercial use of gas to Tk 24.05 from Tk 17.04 per unit.

Joint Secretary of Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) Jahir Raihan urged the BERC to consider the tariff hike for the household consumers.

"What I understood in the hearing, everyone was opposing the tariff hike proposals for the household consumers," he said.

Consumers, rights groups and individual energy experts opposed the proposals, and argued for freeing the gas distribution companies from corruption, irregularities and weakness.

Corruption, irregularities and weakness in management are the biggest problems of the gas companies, they said in the hearing.

Any hike in gas tariff would not be required, if they could address these problems, said Saleque Sufi, a former top official of Petrobangla.

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) leader Ruhin Hossain Prince said the people will not accept any hike in gas tariff when they are not getting sufficient gas.

Meanwhile, Bam Ganotantrik Jote (BGJ) staged demonstration in front of the TCB office, when the public hearing was taking place inside the auditorium.

BGJ leader Khaliquzzaman warned from the rally that the people will never accept any hike in gas price.

He termed the gas price hike move illogical and unlawful, and said the government should come out of the "farcical public hearing".

Otherwise, the BGJ would go for tougher actions and enforce programmes like 'hartal', he added.


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