Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has started sending inflated bills to its customers in the name of Passing Unregistered Gas (PUG). SSGC imposed the additional PUG levy without informing customers or serving any notice.
A senior member working at the SSGC told ProPakistani that the PUG levy has been used to improve the company’s overall financial health. According to him, SSGC’s gas meters are aging and they are unable to record the correct gas use. To that end, SSGC imposed PUG levy and is now sending inflated bills to consumers.
SSGC’s General Manager Customers Services, Dr. Ijaz Ahmed, told ProPakistani that from January till June 2017, about 108,000 customers have paid bills that included PUG charges. He said that that the customers that paid these inflated bills have subsequently reduced their gas usage significantly when compared with their average historic consumption rates.
The PUG clause is in the agreement form filled by customer, and approved by Oil and Gas regulatory Authority (OGRA). It gives SSGC the go ahead to impose PUG. – SSGC official
For its part, SSGC checks the meter of consumers. The company says that in case they find it slow (indicating low consumption), the PUG charge is added to the bills.
He admitted that imposing this extra payment on customers was done without informing their consumers. No advance notice was also sent to customers by SSGC to explain their position.
Why faulty Meters Were Not Changed
Dr Ijaz Ahmed told that till date SSGC has changed around 46,000 gas meters and that annually, the firm has the capacity to change 55,000 gas meters.
“SSGC has sufficient gas meters stock in stores. But it is not possible to change all meters at once,” Dr. Ijaz added.
The Customer Demand
Customers of SSGC said that the PUG charges are unfair, comparing it to robbery. Consumers from Karachi were already facing K- Electric’s overbilled charges and now SSGC has joined the fray.
Manzoor Hussain, a senior citizen standing in a queue at the SSGC Customer Center, told ProPakistani that his family members went abroad and only his wife remains here. The SSGC imposed PUG in the utility bills even though gas consumption is low at their household. He was visiting the Customer Center for bill correction, however no one at the SSGC was in a mood to listen.
“We are only 2 persons, with no geyser and no other gas appliance under use. We only use stove to cook food and my bill is still more than 2000,” Manzoor Hussain said.