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Why so much idiotic discrepancies in Titas accounts

Titas Gas Distribution Company at a press conference recently claimed that it has brought down the system loss from 23 percent to 8 percent. As such, the company has reduced the system loss by 14 percent. That is, 14 percent gas has been saved.

But in a statement submitted to the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) in January 2022, Titas claimed that it had 2 to 5 percent system losses. Now the question may arise, where did Titas get this system loss? Or did Titas submit a fraudulent account only to increase gas prices.

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid promoted the success of Titas Gas Distribution Company's system loss reduction in the press conference. At that time, Petrobangla Chairman Janendra Nath Sarkar was present there.

This Janendra Nath Sarkar claimed that Titas has been able to minimise system loss since 2022 through the implementation of various multifaceted initiatives.

The state minister claimed in the press conference that their goal is to reduce the system loss to zero. Electricity flows through wires. It is normal to have a certain amount of transmission loss and distribution loss of electricity during this flow. But if it exceeds a certain amount, it is indeed considered theft.

But gas flows through pipelines. The gas bill is supposed to be generated if the gas comes out of the pipeline. If for some reason it doesn't, then it's theft. The name of justifying this theft is system loss. Now if Titas sells 1,800 million cubic feet of gas per day, the system loss at a rate of 23 percent stands at 414 million cubic feet. In other words, the amount of theft in this case is beyond imagination. And this was made possible by the abnormally huge discrepancy in the account provided by Titas.In the account of system loss Titas submitted to Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission along with the price increase application on January 20, 2022, it can be seen that the company purchased 17,572.87 million cubic feet of gas in the fiscal year 2018-19. In the same year, they sold 16,567.61 million cubic feet of gas which puts the system loss ats 5.72 percent.

The then Director (Finance) of Titas Md Ismail Mia and Deputy General Manager of Accounts Branch Md Humayun Kabir signed this fraudulent account and submitted it to the commission.

The statement said that during the fiscal year 2019-2020, their system loss was 2.01 percent. In that year, Titas sold 15,107.41 million cubic feet of gas against the purchase of 15,417.78 million cubic feet. In the following year of 2020-21, Titas sold 15,858,27 million cubic feet of gas against the purchase of 16,182,81 million cubic feet. In other words, they are saying that the system loss was 2.01 percent in that year also.

Then in the fiscal year 2021-22, against the purchase of 16,128 million cubic feet, 15,805.44 million cubic feet were sold, i.e. the system loss was 2 percent. The accounts were submitted to the Commission in January 2022. An estimated system loss for the fiscal year 2022-2023 has been forecasted which amounted to 2.21 percent. Titas then claimed that they could sell 18,232.06 million cubic feet against the purchase of 18,648 million cubic feet of gas.

The question is, how did Titas adjust by showing 2% system loss against a mammoth 23%? The huge amount of money that went out of the state fund, has actually gone into whose pockets? Will this money ever come back, or is it possible to bring back! In the case of state-owned companies, the state provides subsidies if the company makes losses. But Titas didn't even make a loss all these years. On the contrary, they have paid dividends to investors in the stock market.

Let us try to understand the discrepancy in the calculations. One the one hand, theft is occurring in the name of system loss. On the other bhand, the amount of actual system loss is being shown much less. Then there is the profit. So it is not necessary to be a rocket scientist to find out how much extra money is being billed from actual gas consumers.

I am finishing the write-up with an experience of my own. Many must remember that the 'Truth Commission' was formed during the army-backed caretaker government of Fakhruddin Ahmed. The corrupt used to go to that commission to confess their misdeeds on condition of anonymity. They would confess before the Truth Commission about black money, and give a part of the corruption money to the government. In return, they got impunity. Then their names and everything else was kept secret; but after a while the names could no longer be kept a secret. Journalists brought out their names and amount of wealth. Then it was known who and who went to the Truth Commission.

A newspaper report was published at that time about one of Titas' drivers. That driver was the owner of Tk 1 crore. He then went to the room of a former information officer of Titas, and said, “Sir, I want to protest this news. It is written here that I am the owner of Tk 1 crore. This is actually not correct. I own Tk 80 crore. I have admitted this matter to the Truth Commission.” I
The driver was very adamant to protest. Titas' public relations officer explained to him that there was no need for the protest. “You better bear it for a few days. Then at some point everything will vanish into thin air.”

He understood the matter and refrained from sending the protest letter to the newspaper office. Now the issue is that a car driver of Titas owned Tk 80 crore. How much the the others in that organization own? And where does this gas theft money really go!

But will the state investigate why Titas increased the price of gas by showing 2% system loss, even though the actual figure is 23%? Or will they continue to provide such nonsense statistics and accounts as usual? And none of them will be held accountable for such idiocy

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