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Monthly Gas Usage by both Metered & Non-metered Single and Double Burner Domestic Gas Consumers under Different Gas Distribution Companies in Bangladesh

In any country, energy is the driving force behind all economic activities. Productivity and efficiency in different economic sectors depend much on efficient supply and use of energy, which includes mainly gas and electricity. Natural Gas is the most important source of energy in Bangladesh as about 70 percent of energy demand is met from natural gas. It accounts for about 68% of the commercial energy. Since the first discovery in 1955, Bangladesh has discovered 26 gas fields (24 onshore and 2 offshore). Of them, 19 gas fields are in production. Natural gas is used both for household and commercial purposes. The pricing is different for different types of connections. 

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) is responsible for creating an atmosphere conducive to private investment in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity; transmission and distribution of gas; transportation and marketing of petroleum products, to ensure transparency in the management, operation and tariff determination in the sectors, to protect consumers' interest and to promote the creation of a competitive market in the country. Gas transmission, distribution and supply/marketing entities/companies are the licensees of the Commission. All gas distribution utilities are also the licensees of the Commission. These distribution utilities supply gas to the end consumers under 8 (eight) categories, such as: Power, Captive Power, Fertilizer, Tea-State, Industry, Commercial, CNG and Domestic. Metered and Non-metered (single burner and double burner) consumers are included in the domestic category. About 4.15 million consumers are in the domestic category (Titas Gas has 2.78 million, Bakhrabad Gas 0.491 million, Jalalabad Gas 0.417 million, Poschimanchol Gas 0.128 million, Karnaphuli Gas 0.65 million and Sundarban Gas 0.0035 Million). Of them, about 99% of consumers are staying under unmetered connection where about 5% are single burner connections and 95% are double burner connections. 

According to the Gas Marketing Guideline, 2014 (applicable for household consumers), gas flow for a single burner stove is 12 cubic feet per hour considering 10 working hours per day, 26 working days per month and diversity factor 0.85. On the other hand, Gas flow for a double burner stove is 21 cubic feet per hour, considering 8 working hours per day, 26 working days per month and diversity factor 0.85. According to the mentioned guideline, household gas usage for non-metered consumers is not being measured currently.  

The gas transmission and distribution companies do practice to measure the gas quantity at its receiving points. But they do sell gas to all consumer categories through the metering process except domestic non-metered consumers, i.e. the gas companies do sell gas to domestic consumers by the metered and non-metered process. In this connection, there is no recognized method to measure the real usage of non-metered gas consumers or to measure the real sell to the non-metered gas consumers by the distribution companies. Currently, the gas companies measure the gas usage of non-metered domestic gas consumers as 82 & 88 cubic meters for single & double burner, respectively. For measuring the quantity, the gas companies divide the monthly fixed billing of non-metered domestic gas consumers (Tk. 750/month for a single-burner and Tk. 800 for double burner) by the per-unit metered gas price of the same (9.10 Tk./cubic meter).  As a result, the calculative value becomes higher than that of the real gas usage and this calculation performs as a factor of system gain. This is a concern for many consumers. As a regulator of the gas sector, BERC commissioned this study to measure the real gas use by the non-metered household gas consumers. 

This study aims to understand the pattern of use of gas by different households. The study intended to estimate the daily/monthly gas usage duration and monthly average gas usage of the represented non-metered single and double burner (based on small, medium & large family), domestic consumers. An important objective of the study was also to estimate the average gas usage of the representative metered (prepaid/postpaid) single and double burner (based on small, medium & large family), domestic consumers. This study collected data from a sample of 1054 households from 13 districts. Out of these surveyed households (HHs), 688 households were using non-metered gas burners and 365 households were using metered gas burners. Again, the sample included both prepaid and postpaid metered households. For both metered and non-metered households, single and double burner stove users were covered. 

The analysis of the survey data reveals that HHs with non-metered gas stoves consume more gas than HHs with metered gas stoves. Non-metered HHs pay a fixed amount monthly and the payment does not vary according to the usages. It is also noted that the price, fixed for the non-metered gas users, is much higher than the monetary value of average cubic meter gas use by them per month. Though there are some wastages in gas use, the price appears to be too high even after considering the wastages (gas-use for drying clothes, commercial food production with household gas connection). 

As the metered system ensures a more flexible and accurate payment system, we should move towards the metered system as early as possible. A road map should be developed for the implementation of a metered gas supply system for all consumers.  In this regard, the study has found that prepaid meters are more efficient than postpaid meters as it is easy to estimate the individual-level use of gas and consumers can purchase according to their needs. 

Team Leader: Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, Senior Research Fellow, BIDS 

Member: Dr. Zabid Iqbal, Research Fellow and Maruf Ahmed, Research Associate, BIDS.

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