Gas retailers unhappy at forced disclosure to EIL

Vol 11, PW 15 (29 Nov 07) People & Policy

Gas retailers operating City Gas Distribution networks are racing against time to put together all the information demanded by the new downstream and gas regulator by the November 30 deadline.

In our last issue, we reported how several companies with CGD networks were alarmed by the regulator’s directive sent on October 30 asking them to disclose information about their business. Some of the information requested is basic, such as the company name, date of incorporation and shareholder breakdown.

But other information requested is more sensitive, such as technical details, pipeline route maps, the length, class and diameter of the pipeline and even customer profiles. Full details of all work carried out till date must also be submitted.

More, the regulator wants to see a copy of the No Objection Certificate granted by the central and state governments. “Based on the information provided,â€‌ says a board source, “we will take a decision whether an authorisation should be given or whether they should be considered â€کdeemed’ authorised.

â€‌ Adds an industry source: “He (the regulator) has not specified why or under which section he is asking for this information. We don’t want to be on the wrong side so we are sending whatever he has asked for.

â€‌ Most concern centres on the regulator’s demand that companies submit the information to state-owned Engineers India employee Dr. Ved Prakash, a manager at the EIL office in Delhi.

“Why should I send confidential information about my business to EILâ€‌ asks one CGD operator. “The form published on EIL’s website is not on the regulator’s (official) letterhead.

It does not have his logo or stamp. Does the regulator have any official standingâ€‌ Stresses another: “What happens if this guy at EIL leaves tomorrow and joins one of my rivals or competitors He can take the information with him.