A spokesperson of the petroleum division says that currently, there is no planned gas load shedding anywhere in the country for domestic, commercial or industrial sector. However, isolated complaints of pressure drops, especially at tail ends of the lines due to severe cold wave are being reported, which are being attended by gas utilities actively.

He said both gas utilities Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Company Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Pipeline Company (SSGC) are striving to maintain the gas supply to 10 million consumers across the country. However, he said, illegal use of gas compressors has led to low gas pressure problems in some areas, which is being curbed by the sui companies.

Moreover, the spokesperson said, the city gate loads in SNGPL system have increased 9 percent in one week as severe winter sets in; SSGC is facing a similar increase in pressure drops in parts of Karachi and Quetta.

With reference to a press report, he stated that one LNG cargo that was scheduled to arrive on 18th December was delayed at loading port and is now scheduled to arrive today. This will allow both SNGPL and SSGC to further enhance the supplies from Tuesday which is expected to improve the system pressure.

He said the public is requested to use gas responsibly and report any domestic consumers using compressors, an illegal act, which is another major reason for pressure drops.

Contrary to government claims, gas shortage and pressure drops have hit various consumer groups, particularly in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, leading to major supply cuts to power and transport sectors and captive plants in the industry.

Besides usual drop in temperatures that increase gas demand in the residential sector in December, a delay in arrival of an LNG import vessel scheduled for Friday last week and higher gas retentions allowed to Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) for K-Electric aggravated the situation.

This will be followed by closure of canals starting next week for annual maintenance. It will significantly reduce power generation from cheaper sources and may require furnace oil and diesel to sustain power supply. The Indus River System Authority has already announced the schedule for closure for maintenance of canals from Dec 26 to Jan 31.

In many areas of Islamabad and Rawalpindi people are facing severe shortage of gas. “The gas pressure is so low that it takes two to three hours to cook a single dish, I just purchased LPG cylinder to get rid of this misery, a resident of Barakah told The Correspondent. “LPG is very expensive but at least I got rid of low gas pressure which is just mental torture he added. Residents of Lahore, Faisalabad and Peshawar complained that they are receiving very low pressure or no gas at all.  

Hamza Habib is a senior journalist and former editor of correspondent.pk who has previously worked for leading newspapers and TV networks of the country. He mainly writes on the economy and political issues.


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