BUSINESS MIRROR: Lawmakers eye pullout of 6M old, dangerous LPG tanks
Lawmakers eye pullout of 6M old, dangerous LPG tanks
LAWMAKERS are considering a “long-lasting” solution to the surge of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tank explosions, the latest of which injured dozens of people in Tondo, Manila.
“There is a consensus emerging within two House committees – on energy and on trade industry – on the need to launch a government-sponsored program to weed out more than 6 million worn-out LPG cylinders circulating the open market,” House Deputy Minority Leader Arnel Ty said in news statement.
“These dilapidated cylinders are a menace to public safety. They are a leading cause of accidental discharges and highly destructive fires in homes and commercial establishments,” said Ty, who represents the LPG Marketers’ Association (LPG-MA) in Congress.
Ty’s remark came shortly after yet another LPG tank flare-up, this time in Tondo’s Parola Compound, injured 42 persons who suffered severe burns. The June 2 blast also set off a blaze that swept through a row of homes.
The proposed LPG Cylinder Exchange and Rehabilitation Program will enable consumers to replace their aging and substandard tanks with new drums, at zero cost to the user, according to Ty. He said the Department of Energy will administer the program, which could last up to five years at a cost of around P10 billion.
“The target is to extract from the market all rundown and unsafe cylinders that are at least 10 years old and long overdue for requalification,” Ty said. He said program funding “is not much of an issue” since the national government collects tens of billions of pesos in tax revenues every year from the LPG sector.
“The draft committee report on the LPG Regulation and Safety Bill, which contains the cylinder exchange and rehabilitation program, is already being finalized,” he pointed out.
Ty said Thailand also had government-funded LPG-cylinder swapping and restoration program.
“They succeded in gathering and replacing some 1.2 million decaying tanks,” he added.
“The Bureau of Product Standards requires that an LPG cylinder must be requalified after 10years of initial use, and every five years thereafter.
Requalification refers to the proper inspection, testing and restoration, or scrapping of a cylinder, as the case may be. This is being performed by requalifiers accredited by the Department of Trade and Industry.
“To promote the safe consumption of LPG, we have to collect and get rid of all these decrepit cylinders once and for all,” Ty said. He said the wholesale removal of the aging cylinders will allow LPG consumers and the industry to start with a clean slate.
The proposed LPG Regulation and Safety Act also sets adequate strategies to ensure that every LPG tank coming out of a refilling plant has gone through painstaking security and requalifying tests.