Friday, October 18, 2013

Worried over rising prices of CNG – Complain to Petroleum Regulatory Board rather than Competition Commission

Commission would not proceed with complaint regarding pricing of PNG when Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board was looking into grievances of consumers and pricing of CNG/PNG


a) The complainant, a consumer of Piped Natural Gas (PNG) supplied by Indraprastha Gas Limited (‘IGL’), sent a complaint to the Chairman, MRTPC as regards price charged by IGL;

b) The complainant submitted that the respondent was exploiting its monopoly in the capital city of Delhi by not passing on the benefits of APM Gas to the domestic consumer and was charging a much higher rate than the Gujarat Gas and MG;

c) The complainant contended that the Commission should issue cease and desist order against the IGL from misusing its monopoly position and profiteering at the cost of its consumers and that the order should specify that IGL should start charging not more than Rs. 9.25 per scm for PNG.

The Competition Appellate Tribunal held as under:

1) The Commission doesn’t find it necessary to proceed with this matter particularly because the grievance of the consumers generally was being
looked into by the Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (‘PNGRB’) who has taken up the exercise to decide and to enquire into the price structure of CNG/PNG by all the entities engaged in the business which would include the supplies made in Mumbai, Gujarat and Calcutta, etc.;

2) If the PNGRB was already doing that exercise, there would be no need for the Commission to go into the further state of affairs particularly in view of the absence of total evidence except the balance sheet of IGL suggesting that IGL had made some profits and statistics before the Commission;

3)  Thus, it was not deemed fit to proceed in the matter particularly in the absence of the evidence and also because a body like PNGRB with all the necessary statistics was enquiring into the matter – DG (I & R) v. Indraprastha Gas Service [2013] 38 59 (CAT - New Delhi)