Govt. fires fresh measures to regulate LPG industry

Saturday, 4 December 2021 01:29 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • No issuance of LPG to public till odorant chemical ethyl mercaptan standards are met
  • Tests LPG shipments onboard, requests SLSI to regulate sector
  • State Minister Alagiyawanna assures stringent punishment if companies found guilty of deliberate fraud 

By Charumini de Silva 

The Government yesterday announced several decisions to regulate and streamline the standards of the Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) industry.

Consumer Protection State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna told journalists yesterday the three key measures were: stop the issuance of LPG to the market till ethyl mercaptan is increased to the acceptable level of 14 according to Sri Lankan standards; collect samples of imported gas onboard the ship; and request the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) to regulate the gas and equipment.

Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) top officials on Thursday visited the Litro storage terminal for inspection.

Alagiyawanna said four samples from a ship with 3,750 tons of LPG at Colombo were sent to SLSI for a quality check, adding that if the stockpile is not up to mark, it will be refused.

The State Minister also said there are no standards on the composition of LPG at present, noting that the Export and Import Control Department has only granted authority to SLSI to monitor the conformity of LPG cylinders to the relevant Sri Lanka standards. 

“In this context, the CAA Chairman had made a written request to the SLSI to include LPG, cylinders and equipment, such as gas coolers, regulators, and hose pipes to be regulated for its standards,” he added.

He asserted that the key objective of these immediate measures is to reduce further incidents of the explosion of domestic LPG cylinders. However, he said these steps taken cannot be considered as final till the expert reports are submitted to the President.

“If the ongoing investigations reveal that the companies have been negligent or resorted to malpractices with an ulterior motive of profit-making, they will be severely punished,” he said.

Alagiyawanna failed to provide any precautionary steps to be followed by the consumers who already have LPG cylinders at home and restaurants. He also had no answers when journalists inquired on the number of gas cylinders issued for domestic and commercial purposes.

Around 35% of households of the total population use LPG for cooking purposes. 

When asked about the glass-top cooker explosions, as evidenced in the majority of incidents, the State Minister said he summoned all LPG equipment importers for a discussion this week and found out that there had been no regulation in these items.

“There are 7,200 categories of imports but only 1,200 are scrutinised. This needs to be rectified immediately,” he added