The Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd (SSGCL) has announced its decision to suspend gas supply to all the compressed natural gas (CNG) stations across Sindh and Balochistan from Dec 1 (8 am) to Feb 15, 2022 (10 pm).

The government has given its approval to a load management plan for the purpose of making gas available to domestic and commercial consumers on a top priority basis during the winter season.

The SSGCL, released a statement saying gas supply on Friday was discontinued to all captive power plants (CPPS) of non-export industrial units till further orders owing to the spike in demand in winter. However, all general industries, zero-rated export industries including its CPPs and fertilizer sector will continue to get the gas.

The volume of gas cut from suspension to CPPs of non-export units and the CNG sector would be diverted to domestic customers to meet their needs during the winter season.

In Baluchistan, the supply of additional gas is crucial for the survival of human lives because gas serves as a lifeline to a large population that has to keep itself warm using water and space heating gas appliances when the temperatures drop to unbearable levels.

The SSGCL added that it is hopeful that the CNG sector would understand the gravity of the situation and cooperate in order to help serve the domestic customers better, via uninterrupted gas supplies.

The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) described the move as unfair cruelty which is unacceptable.

The APCNGA leader Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said in a statement that the SSGCL failed to consult stakeholders ahead of making the decision to close the CNG stations for 2.5 months. He added that it was unfair to shut down Sindh’s CNG sector, which is already paying the highest price of $15 per unit for liquefied natural gas (LNG). He said that in comparison other sectors which are paying only $2-6 per unit are being promoted.

Paracha further lamented, “The CNG sector is not only ensuring cut in the oil import bill but also helping to reduce urban pollution as compared to other fuels. This environment-friendly fuel facilitates transportation to the poor, but it is subjected to frequent tariff and tax hikes”.

Paracha also said that gas utilities cut off the gas supply to the CNG sector whenever they want which negatively affects the employment and business of millions of people.

APCNGA Senior Vice-President Shoaib Khanjee noted that gas consumption by more than 600 CNG stations in Sindh had plunged to 13mmcfd from 85-90mmcfd in mid-2020 owing to profiling by the utility company from 10 pm to 6 am. He added, “We are worried over massive unemployment of thousands of people associated directly and indirectly with CNG business”.

On the other hand, the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Mian Nasser Hyatt Magoo on Monday pushed the government to take effective measures to make sure that uninterrupted gas is supplied to industries as well as lower electricity tariffs.

Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Sheikh slammed the federal government’s gas suspension decision and said it was a cruel and unfair step that would increase the unemployment in the province rendering thousands of people jobless.

Imtiaz noted that the federal government was constantly victimizing the province that was responsible for producing most of the gas in the country. “Gas should be supplied to Sindh in a fair manner under Article 158,” he stressed.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
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