Govt makes LPG connections portable, allows sale of small cylinders at petrol pumps

The government has made LPG connections portable, allowing consumers to choose or change cooking gas dealer at the press of a button, an official statement said on Wednesday.

Alongside, the ministry of petroleum and natural gas also allowed select petrol pumps in metro cities to sell LPG in small cylinders, thereby making it more market-oriented.

Accordingly, cooking gas (LPG) will now be available at select petrol pumps in metro cities in small 5-kg cylinders.

However, they will be priced at the market rate, which is more than double the subsidised price of Rs410 per 14.2-kg cylinder in Delhi.

LPG 5-kg cylinders will be available at company-owned-company-operated (COCO) petrol pumps, which make up for just 3 per cent of over 47,000 petrol pumps in the country.

Initially, LPG cylinder sale will be available at COCO petrol pumps in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru.

The three state-owned oil marketing companies, Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum, together have 1,440 company-owned and company operated pumps across the country.

Though the number of outlets in the five cities where the LPG cylinders would be made available would initially be very few, it would be a noon to migratory population, especially students and professionals.

"This will be a boon to migratory population such as students, IT professionals, BPO employees and persons with odd duty timings as it would provide them the flexibility to pick up cylinders and obtain subsequent refills at time of their choice as petrol stations are open for longer hours," the statement said.

The petroleum ministry also allowed inter-company LPG portability, lifting present curbs on switching distributor.

At Present, an LPG consumer attached to a distributor cannot change his distributor even if he is unhappy with the service.

"Under the portability scheme, a consumer can now opt for the distributor of his choice within a cluster of LPG distributors in the vicinity and across the oil companies," the statement said, adding that the scheme would be available in 30 cities.

"Consumers will be able to see the service ratings of all the distributors in their cluster and choose the one they want based on service levels," the statement added.

The process can be done online through registration on the web site of the oil marketing companies they are attached to. The system can also be used to electronic track the portability request to ensure that a consumer does not have any difficulty in moving to a distributor of his choice.

"This will usher in improvement in consumer service by the distributors as it will bring in competition in the cluster of distributors and bring choice to consumers who want to change their LPG distributor within or across the oil company or want to move to a distributor closer to his home," the statement said.

The LPG portability scheme will be initially available in Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh; Patna in Bihar; Raipur in Chhattisgarh; Delhi; Ahmadabad and Surat in Gujarat; Faridabad in Haryana; Jamshedpur and Ranchi in Jharkhand; Bengaluru and Hubli in Karnataka; Kochi and Trivandrum in Kerala; Bhopal and Indore in Madhya Pradesh; Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur in Maharashtra; Bhubaneshwar in Orissa; Chandigarh and Ludhiana in Punjab; Jaipur and Jodhpur in Rajasthan; Chennai and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu; Lucknow and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh; Dehradun in Uttaranchal and Kolkata in West Bengal.