In Bangladesh, instead of paying per cooking stove for cooking gas, both the cost of prepaid meter and the use of gas are much less. But for now the meter installation project is closed. Meters are not being provided due to lack of funding and new applications are not being taken, the authorities said.
Initiatives have been taken to increase the cost per reverse stove. But gas is not available in all areas of Dhaka. The fire was extinguished around noon. But the users have to pay the monthly bill.
Ordinary people are struggling to increase the prices of daily necessities. Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) has proposed to increase the price of domestic gas by 20 percent.
It has been proposed to increase the price of two stove customers by Tk 105 per month and one stove customers by Tk 65 per month. As a result, the cost for one stove will increase from 925 to 990 Tk and for two stoves from 975 to 1080 Tk.
The advantage of prepaid meters
According to the recommendation made by BERC, the cost for gas stove users is going to increase again. Talking to a few consumers, he got an idea of how low the cost of a prepaid meter is.
Five months ago, prepaid meters were installed in five flats in the house of Nupur Islam, a resident of Dhaka. He says that before that he used to spend Rs 975 per month on two stoves. But after installing the meter, the cost has come down to five hundred rupees.
With the idea of cost, he said, “We recharged five hundred rupees per meter last month. It has taken me about a whole month or 25 days. Five hundred rupees includes meter rent and VAT. ”
But it depends a lot on the user, said Nasreen Akhter, another Dhaka resident. Residents of nine flats in the same building have installed prepaid meters together.
He says, “I don’t do as much as I used to. I used to cook a stove, keep the stove burning, maybe I went to fetch something or did something else in the kitchen. I don’t do that, but I get everything ready, put the stove on at once, do all the cooking at once. It depends on me how much the gas bill will be. ”
He says that the cost for a meter is around Tk. 600 per month including rent and VAT. Before the recharge was over, he went to the Titas Gas booth and refilled the money. He has become economical in using gas because of the idea that if the stove is burning, the money per meter will increase. It cost Tk 14,000 to install nine meters in his building.
Local Titas Gas workers in different areas have gone from house to house asking to install prepaid meters. They have done all the work themselves including filling up the paperwork, price of meter and installation cost.
No charge is taken from the customer for the meter. The customer pays for the installation of the meter if any changes are to be made in the gas supply of the building.
In the beginning, many were not interested. But now due to these facilities many more residents of Dhaka are interested in prepaid gas meter. It is not being given. Initiatives have been taken to increase the cost per oven.
As Saleha Begum, a resident of Dhaka who recently relocated, said, “I moved from Lalmatia to Shyamoli in Dhaka. I used a prepaid meter in the previous house. I don’t see it in the new area. I have to pay three hundred or three hundred and fifty rupees a month for the stove. Since I have realized the advantage of prepaid meter, now I want it in new area but I am not getting it because it is not being paid now. ”
In the case of stoves, there is no question of disconnection of gas supply like prepaid meters as soon as the money runs out, but the cost to the consumer is high. On the other hand, gas wastage is also high.
According to the BERC given last year, gas worth around Tk 2,500 crore is being stolen every year. This theft is easy to prevent when the meter is installed.
The cab is complaining
According to the estimates of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company for 2020-21, there are about eight and a half million residential customers in Bangladesh.
The state-owned company first started installing prepaid meters on an experimental basis in 2011. At that time a few meters were installed.
The installation of prepaid meters began in 2117 with funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. In 1919, BERC instructed all customers to install prepaid meters. But now there is no ongoing project so meter installation is closed.
Caber Energy Adviser, an organization that works with consumer rights. Shamsul Alam told the BBC they were seeing delays in installing the meters.
“They say there is not enough money to invest in prepaid meters, there is a shortage of manpower to install them. That is why they are slowing down. But such an explanation is not acceptable to us.”
The policy stipulates that gas distribution companies will purchase and install prepaid meters themselves. Consumers cannot buy from the market themselves. Distribution companies want to be in the meter business, but they are now discouraged because the meter prevents gas theft. ”
A decade has passed since its inception in 2011. Several companies are interested in financing, BERC has issued circulars and repeated requests to provide prepaid meters to all customers, but he still questioned why it was taking so long to install the meters.
It is more profitable for gas distribution companies to pay per stove than meters. He thinks that this is also one of the reasons for delay in prepaid meter operation by the companies.
How far is it to install the meter
Mohammad Saleh, director of the prepaid meter project at Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company, said 320,000 meters have been installed so far under a project funded by JICA. He said a project for laying one lakh meters in front is awaiting approval.
“Customers are coming to us often but we are not taking the application officially now because it is not yet clear when the new project will be launched,” he said.
He denied any delay in the installation of the meters, saying “there is no reluctance on our part but we have sent the project for approval to install more meters. Another 60,000 meters will sit if JICA gets the rest of the money.”
We surveyed. For the first two months after the meter was installed, we kept it in postpaid mode. There is a big difference between the use of gas then and the use of gas after the meter is turned on. The customer himself reduces their usage a lot. They do not keep the gas stove burning as they wish. Gas is being saved at least, said Mr. Saleh.
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