Govt may open household gas connections

Shamim Jahangir

24 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

The government is likely to open gas connections to household consumers at the existing distribution network after its suspension for 11 years since 2008. 

The connections will be opened after an upward adjustment in the tariff.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has taken a decision recently after the recommendation of a six-member committee headed by Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Committee (BERC) member Md Mizanur Rahman to assess the viability of providing new piped gas connections to households. 

Prime Minister’s power and energy adviser chaired the meeting.  

The government has been providing piped gas to households at a limited scale since 2008 due to shortage of natural gas. Gas crisis has also pushed the government to introduce gas rationing system.

The PMO assigned the committee to fix Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) tariff and assess the situation in regard to the demand and supply of gas at the consumer level. 

“The households natural gas connections will be provided through installation of pre-paid meters,” the meeting decided.

It also decided to encourage gas connections for industrial units at the existing gas distribution network though installation of EVC meters.

The meeting also decided that import of LNG would be considered before providing new gas connections at households.

“I’ll be happy enough if the government opens new gas connections in households,” Ratan, a resident of Jatarabari said.

He said, “I’ve contacted local Titas officials to extend burners at my extension houses. The illegal connections will be determined after opening the household gas connections.”        

The meeting drew a reference of the neighbouring Indian government that has already allowed piped gas connections for their metropolitan areas.

Distribution companies earlier informed the authorities concerned that the existing gas distribution system faces around 10-12 per cent system loss. They also said that building new pipelines for household gas supply would be risky, suggesting that the new connections could be provided under the existing distribution network.

Earlier, the government planned to halt new gas connections to 108,598 households that came under special consideration through six distribution companies, official sources said, adding that it has now backtracked from its previous decision. 

As per special consideration, the distribution companies issued demand notes in favour of these households and collected over Tk 87.62 crore in last three years.

The companies said the aspirants of natural gas can get piped gas connections subject to injection of imported LNG into the grid.

At present, the government is supplying 602mmcfd natural gas to 40 lakh households under six distribution companies.

The distribution companies require 350mmcfd natural gas to supply to 108,598 households, but are subject to government permission for fresh gas supply to residences, official sources said.

According to distribution companies, some 172,731 consumers will apply for new gas connection to their households requiring 636mmcfd of gas.

The recent meeting also decided to encourage LPG at non-grid distribution areas and remote areas.    

Presently, the government imports 600-650mmcfd of LNG.