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Gas Consumers in Lahore Face Inflated Bills Amidst Power Division’s Confession of Overbilling

Gas consumers in Lahore face a significant dilemma as they receive inflated bills from the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL). The situation has escalated with reports indicating that consumers are being burdened with bills ranging from Rs 15,000 to Rs 90,000, notably higher than usual. Adding to the concern, an additional Rs 2000 has been incorporated into the bills regarding fixed charges, exacerbating the financial strain on consumers.

Sources reveal that the escalating costs can be attributed to the rising global gas prices, reflecting Pakistan’s challenges in managing its energy sector. The SNGPL justifies the increased tariffs and taxes as necessary measures amid the global energy landscape.

The issue of overbilling is not isolated to gas consumers alone. The power division has acknowledged discrepancies in billing practices, highlighting changes in billing slabs and damaged meters as key concerns. A preliminary report from the NEPRA investigation underscores the gravity of the situation, revealing that over 4.5 million consumers have received bills exceeding 31 days. A staggering 381,510 damaged meters have also led to inflated bills, further burdening consumers.

In July, altered slabs affected 846,468 consumers, with nearly 2 lac protected consumers shifting to non-protected categories. August saw a worsening scenario, with over 5.574 million consumers receiving bills surpassing the 31-day billing cycle. Furthermore, 825,562 consumers were affected by changes in billing slabs during this period, exacerbating the financial strain on households.

The power division’s criticism of the NEPRA team’s process highlights broader concerns regarding quality control and data processing. The report exposes loopholes in the system, underscoring the need for robust mechanisms to address billing discrepancies effectively.

The recent revelations follow NEPRA’s exposure of alleged power theft drives by power distribution companies (Discos), which have defrauded consumers of billions of rupees through overcharging by as much as 100 percent. The situation demands immediate attention and corrective measures to safeguard consumers’ interests and ensure transparency and accountability in the energy sector.

Written By

Digital Content Associate | Research Analyst | Research Writer | Project Management and M&E Expert

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