BERC orders Petrobangla to return Tk 12,227 cr to ESF and GDF funds

Publish: 8:38 PM, June 30, 2022 | Update: 8:38:PM, June 30, 2022

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission has directed state-owned Petrobangla to return Tk 12,227.44 crore to its two original funds—the energy security fund (ESF) and the Gas Development Fund (GDF).

The energy regulator’s latest directive which came as the BERC Order No-2022/7, in detail, was released on June 27 and uploaded on its website on the same day.

However, BERC gave its brief order on June 4 raising gas prices by average 23 percent at retail consumer level.

As per the BERC Verdict, the Petrobangla has to now return Tk 9227.44 crore to ESF Fund and Tk 3000 crore with interest to the GDF fund which the organization had taken away and used for different purposes.

The verdict did not dictate a specific date for the Petrobangla as to when it has to return the funds.

The order came as a follow-up of the public hearing on gas prices held on March 21 in the city’s BIAM Auditorium where different consumer right groups, including Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) termed the ESF and GDF fund as consumers’ money which they paid in addition to their bills for gas field development and security purposes.

But the Petrobangla used some of the funds for different other purposes while deposited to the government exchequer as per a Finance Ministry order.

The CAB and other right groups pleaded with the BERC to return the amount to the original funds and ensure its use only for gas field development and the gas sector’s security purpose through a transparent way which will be monitored by consumers representatives.

CAB Vice President M Shamsul Alam welcomed the verdict and said that now an obligation has been created on the part of the Petrobangla to return the fund.

He said if Petrobangla does not abide by the BERC order, the regulator can punish or fine the responsible officials of Petrobangla for violating the verdict

He said if the Petrobangla fails to fulfill its legal obligation, the CAB will move the court to force the organization to implement the order.