President directs SNGPL to provide relief to aggrieved consumer

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has directed the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) to revise the unjust bill of Rs 44,526 charged to a consumer after his gas meter was damaged because of a firing between two groups.

The president gave these directions while rejecting a representation filed by SNGPL (the Agency) against a decision of the Wafaqi Mohtasib, wherein SNGPL was found to have committed maladministration for charging unjustified bill and meter costs from the complainant, President Secretariat Press Wing said in a press release on Saturday.

The president in his decision observed that the gas meter of the complainant got damaged as a result of a firing between two groups and due to no fault of the consumer and that the complainant had filed an FIR with the police on account of damage caused to his gas meter.

He observed that it was a case of meter damage and not meter tampering and the report furnished by SNGPL also did not reflect that the complainant was associated with the violation of the consumers’ gas contract agreement.

The president further noted that SNGPL had replaced his gas meter after his formal request, but his meter was dispatched for flow proving to a local laboratory after a lapse of more than a month, whereas SNGPL was required to do so within five days as per the policy framed by OGRA.

He held that SNGPL had no basis to recover unregistered consumed gas charges and impose a penalty since it was the domain of a competent court of law.

He further stated that SNGPL can only charge for one year where the period of tampering is unknown, but in the present case the period of damage to the meter was well-determined i.e., 20 days till the date of replacement of the damaged meter.

The president upheld the Mohtasib’s decision that SNGPL had billed the complainant in violation of law and the rules and procedures laid down by OGRA, which amounted to maladministration, therefore, SNGPL’s representation deserved to be rejected.

He further directed the agency to report compliance to the Wafaqi Mohtasib within 30 days of his decision.

As per details, Brig. Arbab Gul Muhammad, a resident of Peshawar, had alleged unjust billing by the Agency for the month of February 2021 amounting to Rs 44,525/, including the meter cost of Rs 9,004/-. According to him, his meter was damaged due to cross-firing between two local groups and had also registered an FIR with the local police station, and that the Agency had unjustifiably charged him the said amount. Feeling aggrieved, he approached the Wafaqi Mohtasib, who passed the orders in his favour. Subsequently, SNGPL filed a representation with the president, which he rejected. (APP)