Ogra holds public hearing on massive gas price hikes

Ogra holds public hearing on massive gas price hikes


Final decision after completing the process; Businessmen oppose the plan

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LAHORE (Dunya News) – The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) on Monday held a public hearing in Lahore on the suggested increase in gas tariffs – the third in the current fiscal year – after the Sui Northern requested for up to a whopping 147% hike.

With the next hearing scheduled for Wednesday (March 27) in Peshawar, the Sui Northern has requested an increase of Rs2,646.18 per mmbtu, setting a new average price of Rs 4446.89, after it argued that it has estimated a revenue shortfall of Rs189.18 billion.

If the request is approved, then the increase in gas price for the consumers in Punjab. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad will be applicable from July 1.

As the hearing concluded, the Ogra officials said it wasn’t necessary to hike the gas prices according to the Sui Northern demand and that a final decision would be taken after completing the process of public hearings as well as pondering upon the objections.

Earlier, the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) as well as All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) declared the plan as cruel move and decided that they will be strongly oppose the same at the hearing.

LCCI Vice President Adnan Butt said the gas prices in Pakistan were already much higher than the rest of the world and any further hike would force the closure of factories.

Similarly, the APTMA is of the view that the Sui Northern authorities should be asked about their performance and the gas and electricity prices must be reduced.

Last week, the Ogra held similar public hearings in Karachi and Quetta as the Sui Southern sent a request for an increase of Rs 324.3 per mmbtu, asking the regulator to fix a new average price of Rs 1740.80 per mmbtu – a move which is expected to burden the consumers by Rs79.63 billion.

It has estimated a total revenue shortfall of Rs79.63 billion in the application for the next financial year, out of which Rs56.69 billion is related to the locally produced gas and Rs22.93 billion in the RLNG.

After the hearings, a final decision will be sent to the federal government. In case, Islamabad approves the move, the Ogra will issue a notification to increase the gas prices.