Now the situation is at its worst. Despite disconnecting CNG stations for two days in a week, the domestic user is still deprived of gas. Ironically, despite utilizing no gas, consumers have to pay the bill more than what they pay in summer when the gas is available day and night. On the other hand, these two days are also problematic for those who rely on CNG in their vehicles.
But the situation is more awkward for CNG station owners who finance their business on heavy markups, but in the present circumstances, are afraid that how they can manage to pay back the loans to financial institutions. Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, Chairman CNG Association, is of the view that gas supply to industries and bulk gas consumers should immediately be suspended to improve gas crises for domestic sector. He said SNGPL ordered and issued notices to keep all CNGs of Lahore and Islamabad/Rawalpindi closed for unlimited period, which was not fair.
He observed that although all CNG stations remained closed for two days a week, gas supply to domestic sector did not improve. Every one knows that closing these stations is not the solution to gas crisis. It is evident that CNG stations are not responsible for gas crisis, but that bulk gas users are responsible for this problem as they use heavy amount of gas and left a very little in network for urban areas. He said “we are continuously telling the government to suspend gas supply to bulk consumers, but government did not admit this fact so now the new gas crisis has proved that government’s policy was wrong and this all is the result of this wrong policy.”
If government sincerely wants to restore proper gas supply to domestic sector, gas supply to industries (bulk gas consumers) should be stopped immediately and they must go on to the alternate fuels, which may resolve this issue, he said.
But even now if the government is not going to suspend gas supply to bulk consumers, it will create a big mess. All people will come on roads and it will compel us too to come on roads with public, he added.
On the other hand, the government argues it had acted in accordance with the Natural Gas Load and Management Policy to ensure optimal utilization of natural gas for the best socio-economic development of the country. According to this policy, the domestic and commercial sector are placed at the top priority in terms of gas supply; fertilizer and industrial sector take the second place; Independent Power Plants (IPPs) as well as WAPDA and KESC power plants having firm gas supply commitment fall at the third place; central industrial and CNG sector at fourth priority; and power sector and cement industry at fifth and sixth place, respectively.
As far as the load management is concerned, the percentage of domestic sector is 15.6; commercial sector, 2.4; fertilizer sector, 5.2; industrial sector, 19.4; WAPDA, KESC and Power Plants, 32.5; cement plants, 1.2; and CNG, just 0.5 per cent.
The shortage of gas was also discussed in the National Assembly and Senate of Pakistan, and the parliamentarian pointed out that when some one applies for establishing an industry, he signs a document according to which he must adopt an alternate fuel system for his industry, especially for three months in winter season.
The industrial units consume around 20 per cent of total natural gas. The government can improve supply of gas to other sectors, especially to domestic sector, by disconnecting gas to the industrial sector. But this is not a permanent solution. It is evident that despite disconnecting more than three thousands CNG stations around the country for two days a week, gas distributions companies could not restore gas supply for domestic consumers that consume 15.6 per cent of total gas. This is high time the government expedited the gas import projects and kept it at the top priority, as energy experts forecast that the current natural gas reserves in the country would be depleted in next two decades and there would be no gas for the generations to come.