May 17, 2020

The End of a Pakistani Oil and Gas Mafia

Abdul Rashid Lone
Companies
Fire
Gas
Admin
2 min
The corrupt heads of Pakistani oil and gas companies are fired.
Malik Ayub Sumbal Islamabad More than eight heads of the various Pakistani oil and gas companies have been removed from their services. The decision i...

 

Malik Ayub Sumbal

Islamabad

More than eight heads of the various Pakistani oil and gas companies have been removed from their services. The decision is a step towards solving the prevailing energy crisis in the country initiated by the Prime Minister of Pakistan under immense pressure by the citizens of the country.

The Prime Minister failed to save the service of his beloved and most loyal Managing Director of Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL), Abdul Rashid Lone, who was retired from service since March 2003 but still on sacred extension.

Lone’s was the longest tenure of any Managing Director served in the Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited. He received six extensions and enjoyed an 11-year-long tenure.

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The Auditor General of Pakistan had recommended immediate termination of Lone’s sixth contract, as it was discovered that the Rs.30 million paid as both salary and perks to the ‘favorite’ officer of every regime since 2003 was absolutely unjustified.

Abdul Rashid Lone arguably claimed the privilege of being the only top gun to have gotten generous extensions from three prime ministers of Pakistan after his retirement.

Several corruption charges cited the nepotism witnessed in the 11-year-long Managing Directorship of the terminated Abdul Rashid Lone. However, despite the expulsion orders from the service, the official spokesperson of Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited stated that he has not been fired from the job, but rather has ‘resigned.’

It is also pertinent to mention here that the decision of the Prime Minster came earlier than the resignation of Abdul Rashid Lone. Arif Hameed who was serving Senior General Manager in the company endorsed the charge of the new Managing Director of SNGPL.

Malik Ayub Sumbal is a freelance journalist based in Islamabad
[email protected]

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Jul 26, 2021

Ofwat allows retailers to raise prices from April

Ofwat
Utilities
water
prices
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Ofwat confirms levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue

Retailers can recover a portion of excess bad debt by temporarily increasing prices from April 2022, according to an Ofwat statement.

The regulator confirmed its view that levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue, thereby allowing "a temporary increase" in the maximum prices. Adjustments to price caps will apply for a minimum of two years to reduce the step changes in price that customers might experience.

Measures introduced since March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19 could lead to retailers facing higher levels of customer bad debt. Retailers’ abilities to respond to this are expected to be constrained by Ofwat strengthening protections for non-household customers during Covid-19 and the presence of price caps.  

In April last year, Ofwat committed to provide additional regulatory protection if bad debt costs across the market exceeded 2% of non-household revenue. 

Georgina Mills, Business Retail Market Director at Ofwat said: “These decisions aim to protect the interests of non-household customers in the short and longer term, including from the risk of systemic Retailer failure as the business retail market continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19. By implementing market-wide adjustments to price caps, we aim to minimise any additional costs for customers in the shorter term by promoting efficiency and supporting competition.”  

There are also three areas where Ofwat has not reached definitive conclusions and is seeking further evidence and views from stakeholders:   

  1. Pooling excess bad debt costs – Ofwat proposes that the recovery of excess bad debt costs is pooled across all non-household customers, via a uniform uplift to price caps. 
  2. Keeping open the option of not pursuing a true up – For example if outturn bad debt costs are not materially higher than the 2% threshold. 
  3. Undertaking the true up – If a 'true up' is required, Ofwat has set out how it expects this to work in practice. 

Further consultation on the proposed adjustments to REC price caps can be expected by December.

Anita Dougall, CEO and Founding Partner at Sagacity, said Ofwat’s decision comes hot on the heels of Ofgem’s price cap rise in April.

"While it’s great that regulators are helping the industry deal with bad debt in the wake of the pandemic, raising prices only treats the symptoms. Instead, water companies should head upstream, using customer data to identify and rectify the causes of bad debt, stop it at source and help prevent it from occurring in the first place," she said.

"While recouping costs is a must, water companies shouldn’t just rely on the regulator. Data can help companies segment customers, identify and assist customers that are struggling financially, avoiding penalising the entire customer in tackling the cause of the issue."

United Utilities picks up pipeline award

A race-against-time plumbing job to connect four huge water pipes into the large Haweswater Aqueduct in Cumbria saw United Utilities awarded Utility Project of the Year by Pipeline Industries Guild.

The Hallbank project, near Kendal, was completed within a tight eight-day deadline, in a storm and during the second COVID lockdown last November – and with three hours to spare. Principal construction manager John Dawson said the project helped boost the resilience of water supplies across the North West.

“I think what made us stand out was the scale, the use of future technology and the fact that we were really just one team, working collaboratively for a common goal," he said.

Camus Energy secures $16m funding

Camus Energy, which provides advanced grid management technology, has secured $16 million in a Series A round, led by Park West Asset Management and joined by Congruent VenturesWave Capital and other investors, including an investor-owned utility. Camus will leverage the operating capital to expand its grid management software platform to meet growing demand from utilities across North America.

As local utilities look to save money and increase their use of clean energy by tapping into low-cost and low-carbon local resources, Camus' grid management platform provides connectivity between the utility's operations team, its grid-connected equipment and customer devices.

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