The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has directed liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) marketing companies to publish prices of their products for the convenience of consumers and also ask their dealers and distributors to follow set procedures and price notifications.
The directives came in the wake of what market players said was an artificial increase in LPG prices with the start of winter.
Ogra also asked the marketing companies, which had got licences from the regulator, to comply with the licence conditions and increase the number of sale-points or certified distributors in order to facilitate the end-users.
Participants of a meeting called urgently at the regulator’s office here decided to launch a comprehensive campaign against LPG decanting – the practice of transferring gas from one cylinder to another, which poses a threat to people’s safety and is illegal.
Ogra asked both the LPG companies and local administrations to collaborate and take steps in an effort to curb decanting.
Regarding the increase in LPG prices, representatives of the marketing companies told the meeting that profiteers had exploited a sudden rise in demand with the beginning of winter.
Ogra warned the companies that strict action would be taken against the defaulter or its distributors and a repeated violation of regulations could lead to revocation of a company’s licence.
The regulator has already fined at least 17 marketing companies, which themselves or their distributors were found involved in unfair practices in relation to prices.
In a statement, the Ogra spokesperson said certain inspection teams were already in the field that could pay surprise visits to marketing companies or their distributors in response to a complaint or for some other reason.
“Ogra cannot determine LPG prices as it is a deregulated business but the companies are supposed to notify reasonable prices and distributors will follow them. Any overcharging by a distributor could cost it the company’s dealership,” the spokesperson added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2014.