Natural gas consumers across the country owe around Tk 90 billion, of which electricity clients alone skipped two-thirds of the payment against their utility services.
Officials said household consumers are the biggest defaulters of natural gas bills accounting for as much as Tk 26.42 billion.
The second-highest defaulters is the power plant owners-both public and privately-run facilities-whose unpaid bills to different state-run gas marketing and distribution companies reached Tk 23.78 billion.
Industries and captive power plant owners follow the suit owing Tk 16.56 billion and Tk 15.26 billion respectively.
State minister for power, energy and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid on Saturday urged the consumers of natural gas to clear the dues and help the government provide better services.
The consumers should have the responsibility to accelerate the overall growth, he said.
Mr Hamid was speaking as the chief guest at a webinar on “Underground cable to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply in the capital,” organised by the Forum for Energy Reporters’ Bangladesh (FERB).
The government is working on digitalising the power sector through supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), enterprise resources planning (ERP), smart-grid, smart metering, etc, he said.
All the areas of the country except some isolated islands and hilly areas have already been brought under the electricity coverage, which is around 99 per cent of the state, said power secretary Habibur Rahman.
These off-grid areas will, however, be brought under electricity coverage within the Mujib year, he added.
The government is working towards ensuring uninterrupted electricity supply across the country, he said.
Managing directors of Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd (DPDC) and Dhaka Electric Supply Company Ltd (DESCO) Bikash Dewan and Md Kawsar Amir Ali delivered the keynote paper at the webinar.
FERB chairman Arun Karmakar presided over the webinar, while its executive director Shamim Jahangir moderated the event.