Have you recently been shocked to see a massive Sui gas bill even though your consumption was practically the same as the previous month or year in this season? For many consumers who don’t even get a steady supply of gas have experienced twice or three times high gas bills? If it makes you feel any better, you’re not the only one! Gas consumers across Pakistan were handed gas bills that were higher than their peak summer season electricity bills. Areas where gas load shedding is in effect with supply timings between 10PM to 7AM are also complaining about high gas bills despite minimum usage. Then why all of a sudden such an increase in gas bills? Let’s take a look.
This recent surge in gas prices is due to many factors. When the new government took charge, they were adamant on solving the Country’s energy crisis. Resultantly, the Government formed the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), that would hold discussions and liaise with different energy departments to find a workable solution. The ECC was briefed on the challenges faced by the concerned departments about the looming energy crisis. The discussions entailed current problems and their ramifications on consumers and industries and a list of possible workarounds to bolster revenues while balancing energy shortfalls.
It’s no surprise that previous governments are always blamed for the perennial energy crisis which has recently ballooned to such an extent that its really squeezing the average consumer. The overall energy shortfall coupled with losses and theft which go unchecked, the distribution companies such as SNGPL and SSGC suffer major losses. The first line of action proposed by the various departments was to increase tariffs to compensate for the losses and inch closer to profitability. The government hence acted on the recommendations of the ECC and increased the tariffs on all energy utilities with the most significant escalation on gas prices.
The government increased the gas prices by 143% in September and introduced four new slabs for calculating monthly consumer bills. Previously, there were only three slabs that were used in calculating gas bills. A total of seven slabs are now applied to calculate your monthly gas bill. These new slabs and corresponding tariffs have been in effect since September of 2018, however due to low consumption during the fall season, no one consumed nearly as much gas to get slammed by the higher tariffs. During the winter months of 2018 and going into 2019, consumers noticed the tariffs take full swing with gas bills that two to three times more than their regular
These were implemented right away in September but since the gas consumption was low during that period, no one noticed it. Now with gas usage at its peak, consumers are beginning to take notice of the new tariffs as they are being reflected on consumer bills.
Understanding the New Sui Gas Slabs
Before implementation of the new tariff policy, there was one 100 mmcfd slab for consumers. Now, the government has broken it down into two different slabs – consumers who consume less than 100 mmcfd and consumers who consume up to 110 mmcfd.
The rate for consumers who consume up to 100 mmcfd has been increased by 15%, while the rate for the second slab, consumers who consume up to 110 mmcfd, has been increased by 10%.
The third slab is for consumers who consume up to 200 mmcfd. Their rate has been increased by 20%.
The forth slab is for consumers who consume up to 300 mmcfd. Their rate has been increased by 25%.
The fifth slab is for consumers who consume up to 400 mmcfd. Their rate has been increased by 30%.
The sixth slab is for consumers who consume up to 500 mmcfd. Their rate has been increased by 143%.
The seventh slab is for consumers who consume more than 500 mmcfd. Their rate will be increased by 143% as well.
These slabs were confusing for many people to understand since the gas meters displays the amount of gas consumed in cubic meters. There was no way individuals were to calculate how much their bill would be if they consumed 74 cubic meter of gas in a month or how much the tariff would be applied based on the seven slab breakdowns. Thus, the government simplified the new tariffs implementation so that anyone can understand it. The simple way to understand the slabs is as follows:
Domestic home gas consumers who consume up to 50 cubic meters per month will be charged Rs121.00 per MMBTU.
Similarly, home gas consumers who consume up to 100 cubic meters per month will be charged Rs127.00 per MMBTU.
Home gas consumers who consume up to 200 cubic meters per month will be charged Rs264.00 per MMBTU.
Home gas consumers who consume up to 300 cubic meters per month will be charged Rs275.00 per MMBTU.
Home gas consumers who consume up to 400 cubic meters per month will be charged Rs780.00 per MMBTU.
Home gas consumers who consume up to 500 cubic meters per month will be charged Rs1,460.00 per MMBTU.
And finally, home gas consumers who consume over 500 cubic meters per month will be charged Rs1,460.00 per MMBTU.
This notification is much simpler to understand for consumers as they can easily calculate what tariff slabs will be applied to their bills. Now that we know how much tariff will be applied, let’s look at the formula that is used to calculate your gas bill*.
*Sui gas users, please note down this formula to assess and calculate your estimated bill and prevent yourselves from excessive and abnormal bill charges.
Calculating Your Monthly Sui Gas Bill
Step 1: When you receive your gas bill, the first thing you need to check are the units consumed mentioned on bill. Look for the column that says Previous Reading. Next to it will be Current Reading. These two readings are the main variables used to calculate your gas bill. Let’s look at the following example. In my gas bill, I noted the following data:
Current Reading: 03051
Difference: 613 units
Thus, the units I consumed during the month were 613.
Step 2: Now that we know the number of units, we can proceed further. Multiply the number of units consumed with Pres./factor 1.0444 (printed on the bill) and divide it by 100. In my case, I consumed 613 units, thus
613×1.0444=640.2172÷100= 6.40217 (HM3)
Thus my gas consumed is 6.402 HM3 (units).
Step 3: Now we have to calculate the MMBTU. Multiply the HM3 value with the GCV which is 1037 as per printed on bill and divide it by 281.7385. My HM3 came out to 6.402, so I apply it in the formula
6.402×1037= 6638.874÷281.7385= 23.563 (MMBTU)
This is my MMBTU reading for the month.
Step 4: Now we have the MMBTU and the HMN3 units, we check our corresponding HM slab and its rate.
Quick Summary of HM values
Up to 1.00 Rs127.00
Up to 2.00 Rs264.00
Up to 3.00 Rs275.00
Up to 4.00 Rs780.00
Up to 5.00 and above Rs1460.00
50 M3 per month will be charged at Rs121/MMBTU.
Up to 100 M3 per month will be charged at 127/MMBTU.
Up to 200 M3 per month will be charged at 264/MMBTU.
Up to 300 M3 per month will be charged at 275/MMBTU.
Up to 400 M3 per month will be charged at 780/MMBTU.
Up to 500 M3 per month will be charged at 1,460/MMBTU.
Over 500 M3 per month will be charged at 1,460/MMBTU.
My consumption were 6.402 (HM3) 23.563 (MMBTU)
Step 5: Next step is to multiply the MMBTU consumed with the HM3 rate
23.56 x 1,460 = Rs. 34,403.44.
Note that the HM3 value gets rounded off. Since I used over 6.00 HM3, I fall into the up to 5.00 HM3 and above slab, thus the rate of 1,460 is used to calculate my bill. This is insane!
Step 6: The final step is to add the meter rent + GST to the value obtained in Step 5. This result is your final bill total.
The meter rent is Rs20.00 while GST is Rs5,852.00
So my final bill is 34,403.44+20+5,852= Rs. 40,270.80 🙁
Do note that these tariffs aren’t going to go away anytime soon, like after the end of one winter season. The Gas Utilities, SSGPL and SNGPL, are complaining about operating in deficit. The government is keen on making them profitable. Not only the gas utilities, but the government wants to make every entity or department profitable so as long as the government is in power the tariff will be applied to every bill.
Tips to Save on Your Sui Gas Bills
The best solution is to consume less gas, which is really impractical, or look for alternatives. No matter what, there is no way to consume less gas. Gas will be required, as usual, to cook food. But, this is the case year round, and the bill isn’t much, but what spikes up the bill is use of water geyser and gas heaters.
Usage of gas geysers is unavoidable during winter. Warm water is needed, period. Whether it is for showering, cleaning dishes, or doing wudhu, warm water is the order of the day. And warm water is supplied only through a geyser. Every house has a gas geyser, which is always on 24 hours a day (depending on un-interrupted gas supply). This doubles the gas consumption instantly.
Similarly, gas heaters are used to warm rooms. A typical house uses at least two gas heaters at a time, if not three. Thus two gas heaters in addition to the gas geyser is definitely going to spike up the bill. In order to reduce the bill and gas consumption, there are alternatives available in the market.
Instant geysers and solar geysers are available as alternatives to gas geysers. The advantage of instant geyser is that it doesn’t require gas connection, it operates on electricity. Water is stored in its chamber and heated electrically. Hot water is available on demand at any anytime. The biggest disadvantage is that there is only a limited amount of water that is warmed. The storage or tank has a capacity limit. Once the capacity is used, cold water will start to flow which could be harmful during a shower.
Solar geyser is a better option. It has a bigger tank and doesn’t rely on either electricity or gas to warm water. The water is warmed by the heat of the sun. The disadvantages are the huge upfront cost for installation and if it rains for 3-4 straight days, the solar geyser won’t be able to generate hot water. But overall, the long term solution to saving money is usage of solar geyser. It will reduce your gas bill and provide hot water for a longer period of time.
As far as room heaters are concerned, many people have switched over to using electric room heaters as alternatives. These room heaters aren’t that expensive, the starting price is around Rs4000.00, but the quality is not reliable. They come with a one year warranty on parts. They are a solution to gas load shedding, but I have seen few electric heaters break down due to usage of cheap parts.
But, the final choice rests with you. You can continue using the traditional gas geysers and room heaters and receive high bills or switch over to the alternatives and save some money. Money saved could be wisely invested somewhere else.