Karachi (PR): SSGC has taken a major stride forward in curbing Unaccounted for Gas (UFG) levels, despite adverse conditions prevailing in its operational areas of Sindh and Balochistan. For the first time in five years, SSGC has succeeded in reducing UFG from 8.68% in 2011-12 to 6.88% in 2012-13.
A number of factors have contributed to rising UFG levels in the recent years. These include massive population shift to urban centers leading to a phenomenal growth in non-customers, underground and overhead gas leakages, measurement errors, shift of sale from Bulk to Retail customers, gas theft, third-party damages and volatile law and order situation.
In order to reverse the UFG trend, SSGC has been pursuing an ambitious program of segregating its distribution network into manageable units to ensure greater efficiency, transparency in operational activities and accountability. In addition, SSGC has been regularly conducting raids with FIA in colonies where non-consumers found using gas in bulk had their illegal connections disconnected. In fact, the Company has brought a number of illegal connections in its ambit thus generating revenues from the previous non-consumers. The Company has also kept a tight leash on theft cases by regular customers by identifying and disconnecting 632 gas theft cases in 2012-13 resulting in recovering 108 mmcf as against 339 cases that helped to recover 99 mmcf in volume in 2011-12.
For reducing UFG, the Company has also been engaged in meter change activity to replace meters found defective or passing unregistered gas (PUG). In 2012-13, the Company was able to claim a PUG volume of 8,827 mmcfd (through a survey of 159,573 customers) against a volume recovery of 6,164 mmcfd (through a survey of 71,908 customers) in 2011-12.
Moreover, in the no-go areas, the Company has intensified, with impressive results, the installation of bulk meters to identify non-customers involved in theft cases to ensure proper recording and calculation of lost volume,. In 2011-12, against 756 theft cases, volume of theft cases recorded were 2, 185 mmcf while in 2012-13, against 17,248 non-customers, volume recorded was 6,387. In fact, the Company has gone one step ahead in its war against UFG by sacking those officials who were involved in abetting gas theft.
Besides the above measures that have produced tangible results, technology innovation including installation of smart meters especially for industrial and commercial customers, laser leak detection devices and cyber locks along with investment in human capital on a war footing are some of the other solutions identified by the Company management for reducing UFG.
SSGC has also recently launched a Remote Monitoring and Data Acquisition System project to closely monitor the daily gas volume from Point of Delivery and simultaneously monitoring volume consumed by the Company’s bulk and large industrial customers. This System helps SSGC in reconciling daily gas Sale-Purchase figures while promptly identifying incidents of gas theft and meter tampering by detecting abnormalities inside Customer Meter Stations. The Company’s Geographic Information System (GIS) which was developed in-house for better pipeline management and maintenance has been equipped with new features including addition of gas leakage layer.
Even though the SSGC management has channelized its energies in reducing UFG on war footing, some elements have launched a smear campaign to discredit the SSGC Managing Director and the Company management through baseless allegations. However, the SSGC management with full support from the Board of Directors has remained laser focused in controlling this menace to put the Company back on the road to profitability.