All the city gas areas identified for the purpose have already exceeded their exclusivity period. For cities like Delhi and Mumbai, the exclusivity period expired in 2012, while for many others it ended in the years up to 2021.
The downstream regulator’s move is likely to affect city gas distributors like Indraprastha Gas in Delhi, Mahanagar Gas in Mumbai and Gujarat Gas in several cities.
Other distributors that will be affected by this include Gail Gas, Indian Oil-Adani Gas, Bhagyanagar Gas, Maharashtra Gas, Sabarmati Gas, Central UP Gas, Megha Engineering and Infra, Tripura Natural Gas Company, and Rajasthan State Gas.
In notices published on its website, the regulator has sought comments from stakeholders on the proposed move, which falls under Section 20 of the PNGRB Act. The notices carry details of the number of piped gas connections, length of pipeline, and CNG compression capacity in each city gas area.
After the regulator declares a city gas area as a common carrier, the original licensee has to permit about 20% or more of its network capacity for use by other suppliers. Increased competition among suppliers may help cut gas bills for consumers while squeezing profits of the original distributor.
Declaring city gas areas as common carrier, however, has not been easy for the regulator with licensees fiercely contesting past attempts in court. Indraprastha Gas has previously fought PNGRB in court over the exclusivity period.
City gas areas that the PNGRB has identified for common carrier include Bareilly, Kanpur, Dewas, Kota, Pune, Mathura, Kakinada, Sonipat, Meerut, Vijayawada, Thane, Indore, Firozabad, Hyderabad, Agra, Gandhinagar, Gwalior, Agartala, Anand, Surat, Ahmedabad, Hazira, Moradabad, Chandigarh, Allahabad, Jhansi, Bengaluru, Panipat, Daman, Haridwar, and Belgaum.