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KARACHI: SSGC reiterates that it has never been in a practice of over-billing its esteemed customers, as it raises gas bills in accordance to the actual meter readings obtained from the gas meters installed at the customer’s premises. It is only in the proven case of slow or defective meters when the Company has to recover the charges calculated as a result, from the customers.

At the outset the PUG phenomenon that has to be clearly understood. If the gas meter due to any technical reason whatsoever, ceases or omits to regularly register the volume of natural gas supplied, the meter is said to be Passing Un-registered Gas or PUG. The Company subsequently changes such gas meters and charges an estimated bill equivalent to three months’ average consumption.

Another type of PUG charges levied, are due to the slowness of the meter. In this case, gas meter being a mechanical device, age out due to wear and tear. SSGC replaces such meters through its scheduled meter change programme. This involves testing all such meters in the Company’s meter testing laboratory and if slowness is determined then that particular volume is billed to the customer on the basis of 3-months average consumption. It is pertinent to mention here that Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) that notifies prevailing gas tariffs, permits for levying these charges.

Here it may be noted that levying of PUG charges in the monthly gas bills of customers is also in accordance to the ‘Gas Supply Contract for Domestic Customers’ that is agreed and signed by the customer and the same is duly approved by the OGRA.

Such instances are well covered under the respective clause of Gas Supply Contract, duly approved by OGRA. If the gas meter ceases or omits to register the actual gas consumption of customer as per the load and appliances installed at the customer’s premises, clause # 10 (iii) would be applicable that is applied when meter is not registering the actual consumption of gas. SSGC conducts surveys of its customers showing ‘Nil’ and ‘Minimum’ consumption in order to ascertain that their meter is properly registering the readings. Those meters identified for not registering properly are replaced and PUG charges are levied as per clause 10 (iii) of GSA. As the replacement of meter of such customers take certain time period therefore PUG claims are sometimes extended upto a period of one (1) year.

In order to facilitate the customer in reducing the financial burden, SSGC charges a minimal volume/amount in the monthly gas bills of these customers so that the burden of total PUG charges is not felt by the customers. Once the actual PUG charges are calculated, the charges already billed under this head are adjusted accordingly. If PUG estimation is less than the amount charged then the customer account is credited and vice versa. Hence the customer does not feel the pinch of a high gas bill.Living up to its slogan ‘service with a smile’, the Company’s Customer Services team always ensures that the customer’s complaints in this regards are properly evaluated, resolved and timely responded. SSGC always welcomes all its worthy customers who have any billing issues to contact the Company’s Customer Facilitation Centers in their neighborhood, SSGC’s Mega Service Centre in Korangi, Karachi, call 24/7 operational 1199 Contact Center and register complaints on Company’s social media platforms and through Customer Connect Mobile App.—PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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