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Proposals to hike gas prices: Public hearing ends; Berc to take ‘judicious’ decision

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (Berc) has assured that it will consider proposals to hike the gas tariff judiciously as the four-day public hearing on those ended here on Thursday.

“Gas entities might have proposed raising gas tariff by more than 100 percent in some cases. But I can assure you that the commission will consider the matter judiciously without any biasness,” said Berc Chairman Monwar Islam while making his concluding remarks at the hearing.

He also reminded that the commission never agrees with the proposals placed by the gas companies and delivers its order applying its own judicious consciousness.

“For example, the companies proposed a 95 percent hike, but the Berc ordered an 11 percent hike,” Monwar told the audience who were mainly from different consumer rights groups, political parties, business bodies, civil societies and journalists.

He also urged people not to get panicked with the gas tariff hike proposals and instead keep their trust in the neutrality of the energy watchdog.

The Berc chairman directed the gas entities not to bring any unrealistic or exaggerated price hike proposal in the future, saying it creates panic among people.

He also called upon the participants to convey their additional arguments to the Berc by March 20 if they have any. 

On the concluding day, the Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company and Pashchimanchal Gas Distribution Company placed their respective proposals which were identical with other gas distribution entities like Titas, Bakhraba and Jalalabad.      

As per the proposals, the consumer having a single burner oven will have to pay Tk 1,350 per month instead of exiting Tk 750 while the two-burner users will pay Tk 1,440 per month instead of Tk 800 and the metred household consumer has to pay Tk 16.41 per cubic metre (each unit) instead of Tk 9.10 per cubic metre for gas consumption.

Power plants will pay Tk 9.74 per unit of gas instead of the existing rate of Tk 3.16 with a rise of 208 percent while fertiliser factories will pay Tk 8.44 per unit instead of Tk 2.71 per unit with the rise of 211 percent.

They proposed increasing the gas tariffs by 96 percent to Tk 18.88 per unit from Tk 9.62 for captive power while it proposed hiking 132 percent gas tariff for industries to Tk 18.04 per unit against the existing rate of Tk 7.76 per unit.

They proposed raising the tariff by 50 percent for CNG to Tk 48 per unit from Tk 32 while 41 percent for commercial use of gas to Tk 24.05 from Tk 17.04 per unit.

As per the Berc Act, the energy regulator will announce its decision within 90 days of the hearing.

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