Bulk LPG suppliers hit for overpricing Solon urges probe by DOE-DOJ Task Force
The LPG Marketers’ Association (LPG-MA) has slammed the overpricing of cooking gas by a number of bulk suppliers, and has called for an investigation by the Department of Energy-Department of Justice (DOE-DOJ) task force mandated to act against any unwarranted increase in the prices of petroleum products.
“We’ve already filed with the DOE-DOJ task force a report concerning the unreasonable escalation in the price of LPG being sold by some bulk suppliers. Under the law, the task force is supposed to act promptly on the complaint,” said House Deputy Minority Leader and LPG-MA Rep. Arnel Ty.
Ty said several bulk suppliers recently jacked up their LPG prices by 50 centavos per kilo (or P5.50 per 11-kilogram cylinder) for retail consumers, and by P1.00 to P1.50 per kilo for bulk customers.
“The increases are uncalled-for, considering that the international contract price of LPG has been fairly stable,” Ty pointed out.
“The contract price of LPG abroad was $471 per ton in February and $472 per ton this March. This ought to translate to an insignificant increment of not more than four centavos per kilo locally,” Ty said.
“However, some bulk suppliers decided to disproportionately push up their prices by 50 centavos for retail buyers, and up to P1.50 per kilo for wholesale purchasers. This is excessive and abusive, and the task force should not let this pass without an investigation,” he said.
Ty said the “unjustifiable increases” implied that bulk suppliers are needlessly punishing consumers with an extra 46 centavos to P1.46 per kilo.
Republic Act 8180, or the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Law, provides that: “Any report from any person of an unreasonable rise in the prices of petroleum products shall be immediately acted upon by the DOE-DOJ Task Force, which is mandated to determine the merits of the report and to initiate the necessary action warranted under the circumstance to prevent cartelization, among others.”
The price of the global benchmark Brent crude oil has plunged below $55 per barrel as of Friday, from a high of $115 in June last year.
Like gasoline, diesel and kerosene, LPG is derived from refining crude oil.
The country imports between 70 to 80 percent of its LPG supplies, owing to the limited capacity of the two domestic refineries run by Petron Corp. and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp.