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Non-metered gas consumers in peril

SAJIBUR RAHMAN | October 25, 2020 00:00:00

Bangladesh's non-metered gas consumers are now in peril as they are paying much higher prices than metered gas users putting them in huge financial woes and widening their hardships, according to a latest study.

"The price, fixed for non-metered gas users, is much higher than monetary value of average cubic meter gas use by them per month," said the study, conducted by state-run Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

Though there are some wastage in gas use, the price appears to be too high even after considering wastage like gas-use for drying clothes, commercial food production with household gas connection, it added.

About 4.15 million consumers are in domestic category. Of them, Titas Gas has 2.78 million, Bakhrabad Gas 0.491 million, Jalalabad Gas 0.417 million, Poschimanchol Gas 0.128 million, Karnaphuli Gas 0.65 million and Sundarban Gas 0.0035 million.

About 99 per cent of consumers are staying under unmetered connections while about 5.0 per cent are single burner connections and 95 per cent are double burner connections.

The study has found that prepaid meters are more efficient than postpaid meters as it is easy to estimate individual-level use of gas and consumers can purchase as per their needs.

Terming measuring the quantity of non-metered domestic gas use as a factor of system gain, it said the faulty system for measuring the quantity of non-metered domestic gas consumers has been the reason of great concern for many consumers across the country.

As a result, the study said, calculative value becomes higher than that of the real gas usage and this calculation performs as a factor of system gain.

Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, a senior research fellow of BIDS who was the team leader of the study, said there is no recognised method to measure real usage of non-metered gas consumers or to measure real sale to non-metered gas consumers by distribution companies.

She has also recommended the metered system for ensuring a more flexible and accurate payment system, saying that the government should move towards the metered system as early as possible.

A road map should be developed for the implementation of a metered gas supply system for all consumers, she added.

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) commissioned the study styled Monthly Gas Usage by both Metered & Non-metered Single and Double Burner Domestic Gas Consumers under Different Gas Distribution Companies in Bangladesh to measure real gas use by non-metered household gas consumers.

The survey has showed that HHs (households) with non-metered gas stoves consume more gas than HHs with metered gas stoves.

Non-metered HHs pay a fixed amount monthly and payment does not vary according to usage.

Natural gas is the most important source of energy in Bangladesh as about 70 per cent of energy demand is met from natural gas. It accounts for about 68 per cent of commercial energy, the study said.

Since the first discovery in 1955, Bangladesh has discovered 26 gas fields (24 onshore and 2 offshore).

Of them, 19 gas fields are in production. Natural gas is used both for household and commercial purposes. The pricing is different for various types of connections.

The data was collected from 1,054 households in 13 districts. Of them, 688 households were using non-metered gas burners and 366 households metered gas burners.

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