To help with the energy crisis in winter, Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) has chosen to distribute 100,000 LPG cylinders among consumers. The company has already received 2,500 applications and from November, 16,000 cylinders will be dished out. The development shows the energy sector’s characterised misplaced priorities as a gas-supplying company is going distribute LPG cylinders among the consumers. This did happen overnight as for many years, the domestic gas production boom masked the unusually cheap pricing of piped natural gas. But over the past few years, the winter has consistently served as a reminder of how unsustainable the entire endeavour is. Sadly, the awareness quickly fades as soon as spring arrives, and the corrupt system continues to function during the summer until the coming of the following winter. Instead of going for a permanent solution, the SNGP has gone for a makeshift arrangement. The company has negotiated a distribution arrangement with Sui Southern LPG Limited, and these LPG cylinders will be given to consumers on a no-profit, no-loss basis. Initially, these cylinders would be supplied the consumers of Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Faisalabad, and Peshawar. Pakistan is among those countries where natural gas is used as domestic fuel. The world over, it is used for power production and industrial consumption. There are over 2.8 million pending new gas connection requests, of which 1.24 million are from residential customers in the SNGPL territory of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. As indigenous gas reserves are rapidly diminishing, domestic consumers, particularly those who were paying the highest prices, have access to alternate fuels. Because gas supplies have been steadily declining over the past few years, this is the first time the gas distribution business for northern Pakistan has developed a backup plan to lessen the suffering of users due to a gas shortage in the winter. In addition, imported gas is rather expensive and typically used by industry.
The viable and long-term solution to domestic fuel shortage lies in the rationalisation of piped natural gas prices based on import costs. Maintaining that pricing for imported RLNG is completely absurd because it was already scandalous to supply domestic natural gas at below-cost rates. Subsidising piped natural gas at the expense of the rural population is discrimination. It is not only morally dubious, but it also makes little sense from an economic one.