Business Standard

CGD entities lag on minimum work plan, says gas regulator


Only 12 million cooking gas connection­s have been extended by city-gas distributi­on (CGD) entities so far, which is half of their total prorated commitment­s of 22 million connection­s, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has said.

In an emailed response to Business Standard, PNGRB said that this is the reason for issuing letters to defaulting entities to complete their minimum work programme (MWP) commitment­s and striving to open up gas infrastruc­ture for common usage.

“The present progress of CGD entities is not in keeping with their commitment­s. Now, PNGRB is focusing on the rapid developmen­t of piped natural gas (PNG) connection­s, and in this regard, it initiated PNG drives from January 26 to March 31,” the regulator said in response to questions regarding its recent decision not to extend infrastruc­ture exclusivit­y to Mahanagar Gas and Vadodara Gas.

According to existing rules, the MWPS are mandated by PNGRB and techno-commercial feasibilit­y. Apart from providing a minimum number of PNG connection­s, CGD entities are required to cover all charge areas through pipelines within their marketing exclusivit­y periods.

In line with the PNGRB Act and regulation­s framed under it, the regulator takes action if a CGD defaults on its MWP targets.

“PNGRB is mandated to ensure equitable distributi­on of natural gas across the country. To fulfil its statutory duty, the regulatory body has authorised the whole of India (mainland) for the developmen­t of CGD networks. After the awarding of authorisat­ion, the prime function of PNGRB is to monitor the progress committed by CGD entities,” the statement added.

Ambitious plans

To ensure the momentum of connection­s growth remains high and on-ground infrastruc­ture is laid out quickly, PNGRB has been strict in enforcing the MWPS, sources said.

Last year, the ministry informed Parliament that authorised entities have to provide 125 million PNG connection­s by 2030, including in rural and urban areas based on MWP targets.

Expanding nationwide CGD coverage is part of the government’s target of raising India’s share of natural gas in its energy basket to 15 per cent by 2030, up from the current 6.8 per cent.

As a result, as many as 300 geographic­al areas (GAS) covering about 98 per cent of the population and 88 per cent of the total GA of the country spread over around 630 districts in 28 states and Union Territorie­s, including rural areas, have been authorised by PNGRB by May 31, 2023, data from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas show. This was up from 2.54 million connection­s across 66 districts in 2013-14.

With the 12th round of CGD bidding concluding, and letters of intent being issued on March 4, 2024, CGD licences for the whole of India, apart from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadwee­p, have now been issued.

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