The Cabinet Committee on Energy has decided to conduct an independent audit of the billing for December 2018 through external auditors in addition to the inquiry on excessive billing already being conducted by the Petroleum Division.
The Federal Minister for Finance, Asad Umar, chaired the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy on Wednesday.
The meeting was specially called on the instructions of the Prime Minister to look into the matter of inflated gas bills to the consumers.
Prior to the decision, Mian Asad Hayaud Din, Additional Secretary In-charge of the Petroleum Division, gave a detailed presentation to the committee on the recent billing exercise in the Gas sector.
Chairman OGRA and MD SNGPL also gave their input on the recent gas billing exercise during the presentation. It was briefed to the participants that the consumers are billed according to the billing slabs in which they fall in accordance with their consumption.
The Secretary in-charge of the Petroleum Division said that following the complaints of a large number of consumers, an inquiry has already been launched to look into the matter. The inquiry will look at the issue comprehensively from all the different angles.
The Secretary also briefed the Committee that there has been an overall increase of 8% in the consumption pattern of the consumers falling in the lowest consumption slab. He also briefed the Minister that out of the total 6,400,000 gas consumers, only 92,000 that fall in the 6th and 7th (highest consumption slabs) who have been particularly adversely affected by high gas bills.
It was also pointed out by chairman OGRA that during the month of December the domestic consumption of gas doubles which has changed the pricing slabs for many consumers. However, she also suggested that the data for the last two months may be looked into to find any prominent anomaly if any.
The meeting also discussed the issue of Gas theft and the action taken against illegal practices and the determination of the unaccounted for Gas (UFG) loss benchmark and issued directions to M/o Energy to address the issue.
The Committee decided to conduct an independent audit of the billing for December 2018 through external auditors in addition to the inquiry on excessive billing already conducted by the Petroleum Division. The next meeting will be held in the coming week.
The Chair said that the Government is highly sensitive to the problems being faced by the general public and any innovative solution to their problems will be implemented on a priority basis. The reports of both the inquiry and the independent audit will be submitted to CCoE in its next meeting.