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Prepaid gas meters to be manufactured at home

Published : 24 Apr 2022 10:33 PM | Updated : 25 Apr 2022 02:30 PM

Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited (TGTDCL) wants to establish a prepaid gas meter assembling factory with a Japanese company, an energy division official said.

To this end, the Japanese company TOYOKEIKI & ONODA Japan, is scheduled to present a written proposal to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division today (Sunday). 

Three state-owned companies have already established separate factories and are assembling prepaid electricity meters. However, gas prepaid meters still have to be imported.

An official of the energy division said that state minister Nasrul Hamid had been instructing for a long time to come up with a plan to set up a gas meter factory in the country so that meters would not have to be imported at extra cost.

According to Titas, a company called TOYOKEIKI & ONODA Japan wants to set up a prepaid meter factory in Bangladesh. Titas will also have a stake in the company. 

Once there is a gas prepaid meter factory in the country, it is known that others can also use the meters from here. However, as the matter is not final yet, none of Titas wanted to discuss the issue.

It is learned that TOYOKEIKI and ONODA are two different companies. They formed a joint venture company called TOYOKEIKI & ONODA Japan to work in Bangladesh.

TOYOKEIKI is a water meter and gas meter manufacturer, which was founded in 1949 in Japan. On the other hand, ONODA is basically a cement manufacturing company, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The installation of prepaid gas meters is going on at a snail's pace even though the system comes with many perks, including cuts in customers' cost and a reduction in gas wastage. 

According to experts, if the gas distribution companies could ensure prepaid meters for all domestic gas users, around 40 percent less gas would be burnt as consumers would be frugal. Since it was not implemented, the country loses a huge quantity of gas, mainly through the burning of excess gas unnecessarily. Secondly, gas is being stolen through illegal connections.

The government decided to install pre-paid meters to stop theft, waste and illegal use, along with establishing discipline and good governance in the gas sector. But the gas distribution companies are doing this very slowly.

Due to the slow pace of the meter installation, the consumers are paying extra bills using less amount of gas. For this, Titas is taking around taka 2.5 thousand crore extra from the consumers every year. One expert says that a whole amount is being stolen.  

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources has expressed dissatisfaction several times at the slow pace of installation of prepaid gas meters. 

BERC member (gas) Md. Maqbul-E-Elahi Chowdhury said Titas collected a bill of Tk 975 for supplying 77 cubic feet of gas in each house. The reality is that 40 to 45 cubic feet of gas is used against the collected bill. In other words, the rest of the gas is not included in the calculation, which is illegal. As long as the extra gas is not properly used, the illegal connection cannot be stopped. To solve this problem, he advised the gas distribution companies to quickly introduce prepaid gas meters.

However, gas prepaid meter installation work of six state-owned gas distribution companies is going on at a snail’s pace. The total number of residential consumers under the six gas distribution companies is currently around 43 lakh. Among them, around four lakh consumers only have prepaid meters. 

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