The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) has finally initiated a move to set the price of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) at the consumer level.
"We've already started a process following the BERC Act 2003 to fix LPG price at the retail level," said a member of the regulatory body preferring anonymity.
He said the public hearing might take place between 14-18 January next as BERC is taking time to complete the pre-hearing process.
BERC officials said the move to fix LPG price came against the backdrop of a show-cause notice issued by the High Court seeking explanation on why action would not be taken against the regulator for its failure to set LPG price.
"The court is scheduled to sit on December 15 to hear from the regulatory body on the issue. That's why we're trying to declare a public hearing date before the court hearing," said a BERC official.
Sources said that the BERC had already asked the local LPG producers, including state-owned LPG company, to send their respective proposals to the regulatory body to facilitate holding the public hearing.
Recently, disposing of an appeal of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), a High Court bench ordered the regulatory body to set the LPG price for consumers.
As per the BERC Act, 2000, electricity tariffs and prices of downstream petroleum products should be fixed by the energy regulator through public hearings.
In compliance with its responsibility, the BERC has been setting the electricity tariff and price of natural gas for both bulk and retail consumers after its establishment in 2003.
But the issue of setting the LPG price remained out of the purview of the regulatory body.
Currently, the price of LPG produced by state-owned companies is fixed by Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) while the private companies fix their own price.
There are allegations that the LPG of both public and private companies are selling in the retail market at an inflated price of about Tk 1,000-1,200 for a 12.5 kg container while its actual rate is between Tk 700-800 as there is no monitoring or mandatory mechanism to fix their prices at the retail level.
In such a situation, the CAB—the consumer rights group—moved the court seeking an order asking the BERC to fix the price through a public hearing, said a CAB official.