Consumers say monthly bill for piped-gas connections is higher compared to LPG, which costs Rs 1,000 per cylinder, whereas PNG bill with limited usage is Rs 1,500
KOCHI: The gas project implemented by Indian Oil-Adani Gas Pvt Ltd (IOAGPL) is not gaining enough traction among households in Kochi, where piped-gas connections were first introduced in February 2016.
Most consumers who have opted for a connection are not happy with the monthly bill, which they say is higher compared to LPG. A liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder costs around Rs 1,000 and runs for over a month, whereas the piped natural gas (PNG) bill, even with limited usage, comes to around Rs 1,500-2,000 a month.
IOAGPL, a 50:50 joint venture of Indian Oil Corporation and Adani Gas Ltd, is powered by the Kochi-Mangaluru LNG pipeline. It gets the fuel from Gas Authority of India’s (GAIL) main pipeline. Thressiamma Abraham, a resident of Padamugal, Kakkanad, who has been using piped gas for a year, plans to cancel her connection and go back to LPG. “I’m staying alone and my piped gas bill comes to over Rs 1,000 a month, whereas an LPG cylinder would last more than two months for me. At these rates, piped gas is not affordable,” she said.
“Even when consumption is zero, there is a fixed charge of over Rs 350,” Thressiamma said.
Explaining the charges, an IOAGPL official said, “Fixed charges include minimum charges, rental fees and GST.” He said the Centre has not issued any orders to provide PNG at a subsidised rate to compete with LPG. “For the last few months, my entire family has relocated, and there is zero usage of PNG at my house. But I still kept receiving an invoice from the service providers,” a former journalist with a PNG connection said. He disconnected the service after clearing a bill for over Rs 4,000.
Gas prices are never stable across the world. “As a service provider, we are not comparing our [PNG] price with that of LPG. Moreover, there is no compulsion from the government’s end that everyone must take a PNG connection,” the official said. “Our responsibility is to build the infrastructure so that in future if anyone needs a PNG connection, they can,” he added.
The official said there are provisions for temporary disconnection of service. So far, the company has provided 44,500 connections across Ernakulam district. Last month, IOAGPL announced that it will be investing over Rs 4,500 crore in city gas distribution projects over the next five-six years.