Angry gas customers take aim at Gujarat Gas

Vol 16, PW 15 (21 Feb 13) People & Policy

More than 800 factories in Gujarat are getting increasingly fed up with companies like Gujarat Gas, newly acquired by GSPC, who they accuse of raising gas prices arbitrarily and unfairly.

A delegation of south Gujarat gas users met Gujarat energy minister Saurabh Patel on February 11 to demand gas pricing clarity. Leading the delegation was Vishal Budhia, gas committee chairman of the industry lobby group South Gujarat Textile Processors Association (SGTPA).

“Patel gave us a patient hearing,” Budhia tells this report. “He promised to look into what we said.

” Budhia argues that companies like Gujarat Gas, which sells 3.2m cm/d, aren't transparent with their billing. “At the end of the day we do not know what price we are paying for what gas,” he says.

Gujarat Gas, he adds, has a supply basket of five sources: R-LNG, PMT gas, APM gas from GAIL, and gas from Niko and Cairn. Yet Gujarat Gas mentions only R-LNG when justifying an increase in its price for piped gas to 875 factories: on February 1, it increased its price from Rs28.80/cm ($0.54) to Rs31.05/cm ($0.58).

Budhia wants operators to separate their R-LNG costs from domestic gas costs in the bill. He says 35 Surat cloth mills have been forced to shut over the past year because of high gas prices.

Next week Surat factory owners are also meeting local official Jai Prakash Shivahare to complain. “We want Shivahare to send a detailed internal alert report to the government,” we are told.

Meetings have also been held with GSPC managing director Tapan Ray.

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