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The authorities will raise gas prices for connections to industrial units ‘very soon’ as the supply of imported liquefied natural gas or LNG has started. Prices of gas to households and commercial entities, however, will remain unchanged before the next general election, according to Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, energy affairs adviser to the prime minister. The government asked the regulator BERC to keep the hiked prices at ‘tolerable’ rates, Chowdhury said at a seminar in Dhaka on Saturday. The authorities moved to raise gas prices after the import of LNG was finalised in June this year, with the distributors proposing increased rates for all connections other than those to households and commercial entities. - A home for your website

The distributors proposed raising gas prices by 73 percent to Tk 12.95 from Tk 7.39 per cubic metre for industrial use.

They argued that the price of imported LNG would be Tk 33.44 per cubic metre, including VAT, bank charge, regasification charge and other expenses. The price is four times the rate for gas from the countrys reserve.

The Consumers Association of Bangladesh or CAB, however, believes it will be possible to keep the prices unchanged by adjusting the cost of importing LNG if corruption and waste in the energy sector can be stopped.

The BERC opened a public hearing on the proposal on June 11 and it will have to fix the new prices within 90 days from the end of the hearing, which is next week.

“Gas prices will be increased very soon, but weve asked the BERC to keep the prices at tolerable levels,” Chowdhury said at the seminar organised by the Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh on Net Metering.

Starting with 100 million cubic feet supply daily, currently the first LNG terminal of the country is adding 200 million to 250 million cubic feet gas to the national grid now.

The target to supply gas from the terminal is 500mcft, he said.

Summit Power is constructing another LNG terminal with the target to supply the same amount.