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ISLAMABAD: The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has set an ambitious target to register an estimated 500,000 unauthorized gas users by the next fiscal year, signaling a determined effort to curb illegal gas usage.

Already, substantial progress has been achieved, with approximately 150,000 unauthorised users identified to date. Among these, 29,000 have been successfully integrated into the unauthorised gas claim mechanism, representing a significant milestone in the ongoing campaign against gas theft.

Following extensive negotiations and consultations with the regulatory bodies, the SSGC has obtained approval to pursue gas theft claims from unauthorised users in Karachi. Collaborative discussions with the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) and the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) have paved the way for this crucial initiative aimed at combating illegal gas usage.

Another 485 connections removed over gas theft

While the implementation of the unauthorised gas claim framework initially encountered challenges, the SSGC is actively addressing operational hurdles to ensure effective enforcement. Notably, a major drive against domestic theft and gas claim recovery has been initiated in Upper Sindh, particularly, in Nawabshah and Larkana regions. The concerted efforts have yielded significant results, with UFG in the Nawabshah region reduced from 24 per cent to 10 per cent and in Larkana from 36 per cent to 14 per cent during the Jul-Nov, 2023 period compared to the previous year.

Balochistan’s UFG remains a significant factor affecting the company’s profitability. To mitigate this impact, several measures have been implemented, including the identification of areas previously inaccessible for accurate billing due to law enforcement restrictions. Notably, the optimisation efforts in Ghazaband Camp, through the installation of dedicated PRS and operational streamlining, have resulted in a substantial reduction in UFG from 58 per cent to 25 per cent.

Furthermore, a dedicated Police Station for countering gas theft has been established in Quetta as part of a stronger drive against domestic and commercial theft. Additionally, a major segmentation and reinforcement project of distribution pipelines in Quetta has improved system operation and contributed to UFG savings by operating at lower pressures.

The proactive engagement of the SSGC team has led to significant progress, including the approval by the Balochistan High Court (BHC) for the provisional billing mechanism, subject to specific guidelines. Consequently, a comprehensive door-to-door survey of approximately, 200,000 domestic customers in Quetta has been swiftly completed to gather data on tampered meters and gas consumption for provisional billing, in compliance with the BHC’s orders and the OGRA’s regulations.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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