The government has taken an initiative to open up the import, production and sales of pre-paid gas meters to the private sector and allow household consumers to purchase such meters on the open market.
Under the plan, the state-run Petrobangla will fix specifications of the pre-paid meters and oversee the quality of the products.
Natural gas marketing and distribution companies will facilitate installation of the pre-paid meters in households after checking their specifications, a senior official of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division told the FE on Sunday.
He also said prospective importers and manufacturers would have to obtain permission from Petrobangla to start their of pre-paid meter business.
Household consumers will also have to apply to gas marketing and distribution companies for installation of the meters after purchasing them on the open market, he added.
After carrying out proper scrutiny of the pre-paid meters, the gas marketing and distribution companies will install the meters, said the official.
"We have planned to open up the sale of pre-paid gas meters to the private sector to ensure the installation of meters in the households within the shortest possible time," he said.
The energy ministry has drafted a policy in this regard, which is expected to be adopted soon, said the official.
It will help check pilferage of gas and ensure its efficient use by household consumers, he added.
Presently, two state-run gas marketing and distribution companies provide and install prepaid gas meters in households in some selected areas.
Since 2012, some 200,000 pre-paid gas meters have been installed with financial supports from the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Asian Development Bank.
Household clients consume around 10 per cent of the total gas output in the country.
Household consumers using single burners now pay Tk 925 per month while the users of double burners pay Tk 975.
Metered household consumers pay Tk 12.60 per cubic metre of gas.