The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas on Saturday launched two pilot projects to help domestic LPG customers to switch their gas supplier and also buy 5-kg cylinders at market price with minimal documentation.
The Inter Company LPG Portability Scheme was launched in 24 cities on a pilot basis. Based on the response over a period of three months, it will be rolled out nationally.
Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas M Veerappa Moily formally launched the 5-kg cylinder sale through company-owned and company-operated petrol stations of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited in Bangalore. The scheme has been launched in 11 outlets across Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
The sale of 5-kg cylinders will be done (equipment and product) at non-domestic rates, with or without a regulator for the first time, by charging Rs 1,000 plus applicable taxes for the cylinder and Rs 250 plus applicable taxes for the regulator. The cost of product and refills will be according to non-domestic rates applicable in the market.
Each 5-kg cylinder will cost Rs 492 in Bangalore for the month of October.
The first initiative allows the sale of 5-kg LPG cylinders at market price, with minimal paperwork through company-owned retail outlets (petrol stations).
"This will be a boon to migratory populations such as students, IT professionals, BPO employees and persons with odd duty timings, as it would provide them the flexibility to pick up cylinders and obtain subsequent refills at a time of their choice as petrol stations are open for longer hours," Moily said after the launch.
Currently, an LPG consumer is attached to a distributor and cannot change his distributor even if he is unhappy with the service of the distributor or the oil marketing company (OMC).
Under the Inter Company LPG Portability Scheme, a consumer can now opt for the distributor of his choice within a cluster of LPG distributors in the vicinity and across the oil companies. The consumers will be able to see the service ratings of all the distributors in their cluster and choose the one they want based on service levels. To make the life of consumers easier, the option is registered electronically on the website of the OMC, to which the consumer is presently attached.
"Electronic tracking of the portability request and closure is in place to ensure a consumer does not have any difficulty to move to a distributor of his choice. This will usher in improvement in consumer service by the distributors as it will bring in competition in the cluster of distributors and bring choice to consumers who want to change their LPG distributor within or across the oil company or want to move to a distributor closer to his home," Moily said.