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Gas price hike to cut pockets of commoners

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HOUSEHOLDS will have to pay Tk 175 more for gas from this month, as the Energy Regulator has raised the tariff for all users. According to the new rates, households using a single burner will pay Tk 925 instead of Tk 750 a month. Those using a double burner will pay Tk 975 in place of Tk 800. With this, the gas tariff for households has more than doubled in the last decade. Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) announced the price hike apparently to help the government to bear the expenses of LNG import. The government is spending about Tk 35 for each cubic metre of imported LNG, while the cost of the locally produced gas is only about Tk 5. But the tariff hike of gas has a spiral effect on service manufacturing and service sectors like electricity, fertilizer, garments production and transportation.
The gas tariff for power plants has been increased by 40.82 per cent, for fertiliser factories 64.21 per cent, for Compressed Natural Gas users 7.5 percent, for Captive Power Plants 43.97 per cent, for Industries 37.89 per cent, for Tea Estates 44.20 per cent, for Commercial Users 34.98 per cent, and for Households using burners on metres 38.46 per cent. The weighted average gas tariff for all users, including households, industries and businesses, will rise by 32.8 per cent. The hike comes several months after State-run Petrobangla and its Distribution Companies asked the BERC to raise the gas prices to Tk 12.19 per cubic metre.
In January, all six gas distribution companies -- Titas, Bakhrabad, Jalalabad, Pashchimanchal, Karnaphuli, and Sundarban -- had proposed the hike, saying their production costs increased following the blending of LNG with locally produced gas. The price of blended gas stands at Tk 12.60 per cubic metre. Consumer rights groups and several political parties slammed the hike, saying that general public would suffer due to the increase in gas prices. Consumers Association of Bangladesh said the price hike would push up costs of electricity generation and fertiliser production. The government should had been thinking twice before hiking of gas price as it would certainly create an adverse impact on the middle and lower middle-income group people.

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