Gas must cost R18,78/kg or less

2011-08-04 00:00

DO not let retailers get away with overpriced liquid petroleum gas (LPG). A concerned member of the public contacted The Witness yesterday saying some local LPG retailers are overcharging customers.

In June last year the Energy Department decided to regulate the price of LPG in order to protect household consumers, said director of petroleum and gas operations Robert Maake.

The price of LPG varies according to factors such as the international price of LPG, the rand/dollar exchange rate and the cost of crude oil. When these factors led to a decreased local price and retailers did not lower the selling price the government imposed regulations, Maake said.

This month’s price, is R18,78/kg, up from the July price of R18,40/kg, said the department’s Hein Baak.

A local LPG retailer Johan van Niekerk said he did not know of any retailers who were overcharging for LPG. Another retailer selling LPG, who is still out of stock from the recent petroleum sector strike, said “It’s the poor that use the gas, you can’t rip them off.” He is charging below the regulated rate.

Afrox communications manager Simon Miller said it is illegal for retailers to overcharge for gas. The only time they should be selling at a price different from the regulated price is if they are charging less.

A retailer guilty of inflating the price of their product is liable to a fine or imprisonment, said Maake.

He said at this stage the department does not have the power to institute spot-fines, but hope to implement this in the future. Maake advised consumers who have been overcharged to keep the receipt and notify the Department of Energy.

National hot-line to report unfair pricing: 012 444 4610, regional office: 031 335 9647.

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