It has been about a year since the government allowed open market purchase of pre-paid gas meters to expedite the process of installing the system for customers’ benefit.
So far, no public or private company has shown any interested in doing the business.
A wrangling between gas distribution companies and meter manufacturers/importers are holding back the implementation of otherwise welcome move by the government, according to some people familiar with the process.
Speaking on condition of anonymity some insiders in the utility service alleged that the Titas Gas company, the largest of the distributors, has monopolized the data accumulation system where meters from other companies are not synchronized.
As a result, a certain Japanese company has been getting an extra privilege to supply its meters, they alleged.
This has made the implementation of the government’s plan to introduce pre-paid gas meters for all consumers unlikely to be implemented any time soon, the industry insiders observed.
According to a study conducted by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), there are about 4.15 million consumers in the domestic category in the country.
The number breaks up as: Titas Gas 2.78 million, Bakhrabad Gas 0.491 million, Jalalabad Gas 0.417 million, Poschimanchol Gas 0.128 million, Karnaphuli Gas 0.65 million and Sundarban Gas 0.0035 million.
However, the latest figure released by the Titas Gas shows it has more than 2.8 million household consumers.
There is a big allegation that the non-metered household gas consumers are being heavily discriminated against in paying their bills against their consumption of natural gas mainly for cooking purposes.
The latest study by Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) shows that a pre-paid metered consumer uses 40-50 cubic meter of gas and pays around Tk 500-630 a month while a non-meter consumer has to pay almost double at Tk 975 for the same quantity of consumption.