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BERC to start public hearing Thursday to re-fix LPG price at consumer level

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) will hold a public hearing on Thursday to re-fix the price of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) at the consumer level.

According to a public notice of the regulatory body, the hearing will be held at Shahid AKM Shamsul Haque Khan Memorial Auditorium of Bangladesh Institute of Administration and Management (BIAM) Foundation at Eskaton in the city.

The hearing will start at 11 am on January 14 and continue until 5 pm. If needed, it will continue until January 18 as well, said the BERC notice.

The BERC moves to hold the hearing on LPG price fixing as per the BERC Act 2003,” said a member of the regulatory body.

BERC officials said the move to fix LPG price came against the backdrop of a show-cause notice issued by the High Court seeking explanation as to why action would not be taken against the regulator for its failure to set LPG price.

Sources said that the local LPG producers, including state-owned LPG company already submitted their proposals on the issue as per instruction of the BERC to facilitate holding the public hearing.

Recently, disposing of an appeal of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), a High Court bench ordered the regulatory body to set the LPG price for consumers.

As per the BERC Act, 2003, electricity tariffs and prices of downstream petroleum products should be fixed by the energy regulator through public hearings.

In compliance with its responsibility, the BERC has been setting the electricity tariff and price of natural gas for both bulk and retail consumers after its establishment in 2003.

But the issue of setting the LPG price remained out of the purview of the regulatory body.

Currently, the price of LPG produced by state-owned companies is fixed by Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) while the private companies fix their own price.

There are allegations that the LPG of both public and private companies are selling in the retail market at an inflated price of about Tk 1,000-1,200 for a 12.5 kg container while its actual rate is between Tk 700-800 as there is no monitoring or mandatory mechanism to fix their prices at the retail level.

In such a situation, the CAB—the consumer rights group—moved the court seeking an order asking the BERC to fix the price through a public hearing, said a CAB official.

Source: United News of Bangladesh