• Friday, Dec 04, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:15 am

Titas mulling online gas bill payment from July to avert Covid-19 risks

  • Published at 10:09 pm June 24th, 2020
Gas Stove
File photo of a gas burner Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Currently, consumers can pay only the electricity bills online

In order to avoid the risk of more Covid-19 transmission among people and maintain revenue stream at the same time, Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company is considering the introduction of online payment of bills for household consumers from July.

The final decision, regarding bill payment through different mobile applications of financial services, will be taken next week at a board meeting of the country’s largest gas distributor.

Sources in Titas said the company will soon ink a deal with companies that own such mobile apps, including Nogod, Rocket and bKash, to enable household consumers to pay their bills through them from next month.

Titas Managing Director Ali Md Mamun told Bangla Tribune that they had decided to waive the late fines for the past three months’ bills because of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Many consumers did not pay the bills over the past three months. But Titas will also have to survive.

“Because of the financial crisis, we have asked all to pay the bills. Still, many are yet to pay the gas bills even though the banks have been open for a month. That’s why the state minister had talked about cutting connections via the energy division.”

“Even though the ministry has decided this, we will consider not snapping the connections if consumers pay the dues in phases,” he added.

Also, considering the risk of one contracting Covid-19 while waiting in queues at the banks, Mamun said: “We have taken the initiative to help the consumers pay their bills online. The final decision will be taken at the board meeting on June 28.

“Hopefully, consumers will be able to pay the gas bills through Nogod, Rocket and bKash from next month, which will help them avoid the risk of getting infected,” Mamun added.

Currently, consumers can only pay electricity bills online.

What happened?

Titas is now in a financial crisis, after the Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry announced that household consumers will not have to pay the monthly bills — of March, April and May — within the deadline, and for that, they will not face any fines.

That move had come, on March 22, just before the government imposed a “soft nationwide lockdown” by suspending all public transports and closing all offices, businesses and educational institutions — in order to curb the transmission of the deadly novel coronavirus.

After the restrictions were recently relaxed, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid Bipu earlier this month said that time would not be extended further after June 30 to pay delayed gas and electricity bills without any surcharge.

Around the same time, he had also said that failure to pay bills within June 30 would also lead to snapping of connections.

Under the circumstances, people are now thronging to different banks and shops of different mobile financial service agents around the country to pay the overdue bills.

However, some banks are not receiving bills, while those that are taking the bills are doing so by strictly following the social distancing rules and making the whole process painstakingly long for the consumers.

Many have complained that they had to wait for several hours in queue outside banks to pay the bills, which in turn also increased their risk of contracting Covid-19.

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