With an aim to prevent gas wastage at the household level as well as to ensure efficient use of gas, prepaid gas meters are going to be introduced in Sylhet.
Jalalabad Gas Transmission and Distribution System Limited (JGTDSL), the sole gas distributor in Sylhet division, is going to implement a project to install prepaid gas meters in the houses of 50,000 consumers.
According to sources, in this regard, JGTDSL submitted a development project proposal (DPP) to the power, energy and mineral resources ministry last year. The estimated cost of the project is Tk118.55 crore.
After scrutinising the proposal several times, Petrobangla recently submitted it to the ministry and JGTDSL officials are hopeful that it will be approved soon. They want to start the project early next year.
JGTDSL officials said the project would be implemented by 2022. After the implementation of the project, the average monthly gas consumption of each household consumer will come down to 40 cubic metres from 66 cubic metres.
As a result, the average saving of gas per consumer will be 26 cubic metres. Waste of gas due to leakage in distribution lines will also be prevented.
Engineer Haronur Rashid Mullah, managing director of JGTDSL, said the project is now awaiting approval.
He said gas waste would be prevented if it was implemented and consumers would not have to pay extra bills either.
"At present, Jalalabad Gas has about three lakh residential consumers. In the first phase, prepaid meters will be installed in 50,000 houses," he added.
Jalalabad Gas officials said if the project was implemented, the waste of gas could be prevented through effective supply and use of gas. They also think the amount of gas saved can be used in new industrial plants.
In this regard, Deputy General Manager (Planning) of JGTDSL engineer Syed Fazlul Haque said consumers of Shahjalal suburban area of Sylhet city would be brought under this service first.
Later, houses of the entire city will come under this service, he said.
He further said on the one hand, prepaid gas meters would prevent waste of gas, and on the other, monthly expenses of consumers would also be reduced.
Consumers having two stoves are now spending Tk975 per month for gas. If the project is implemented, a consumer of a small family will be able to use gas for three months for Tk1,000 and it will cost around Tk300 per month.
In addition, the use of pre-paid gas meters at the household level will build awareness among people about gas usage, increase the company's management efficiency and reduce monitoring costs, officials said.
They said expatriates would benefit the most because many of them build houses here but live abroad year after year. Thus, they have to pay their bills without using gas.
Once expatriates get pre-paid meters, they would no longer have to pay bills without using gas, they added.
Under the proposed project, a data centre, a data recovery centre, the necessary web system, hardware and software will be set up, they said.