A standard for the Liquid Petroleum (LP) gas has already been formulated, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) said today.
PUCSL Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said the standard was formulated with the PUCSL, the electricity sector regulator and the designated regulator for the petroleum industry, together with the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI).
"The LP Gas Standard, developed under the supervision of the SLSI, can be implemented immediately to ensure the protection of consumers of LPG. However, the PUCSL does not have the legal powers to enforce the standard,” Mr Ratnayake said.
While issuing a statement he said the LP Gas standard has been drafted in accordance with the procedures of the SLSI and the final draft is being prepared considering stakeholder comments and inputs received through the public consultation process.
The new standard includes consumer safety requirements when using LP gas cylinders, such as the maximum pressure of the gas cylinders, the maximum percentage of propane in domestic LPG, requirements to improve safety and specify markings such as net weight, test date of cylinder etc. to be mentioned on the surface of the cylinder, the Chairman said.
“There was a standard that has been prepared much earlier for LP gas. Even that is not legalized or enforced yet. One of the reasons for not enforcing the standard is the lack of a regulatory body to regulate LP gas. In 2002, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka was appointed to regulate the petroleum industry, including LP gas," the Chairman said.
However, the Commission has not been legally empowered to regulate this area to date. In 2019, we started drafting standards for petroleum products with SLSI. We have already set standards for products such as petrol and diesel. These standards must be enforced to protect the consumer when using various products of petroleum. Therefore, we see the need for an institution with regulatory powers to enforce these,” he said.
The earlier standard of LPG (SLS 712) of 1998 provides a specification for the use of commercial propane, commercial butane, propane and butane mixture and special duty propane. However, it does not mandate any ratio of propane to butane for domestic cooking.
Mr Ratnayake pointed out that the regulatory powers of the LP Gas Market could be delegated to the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, by amending the Petroleum Products Special Provisions Act to expedite the protection of consumers.
“The issues we are facing now are results of not having a proper regulator for LPG. We should also regulate the entire petroleum product portfolio of petrol, diesel, aviation fuel, marine fuel, furnace oil, kerosene, Natural Gas, lubricants and grease in order to avoid such situations in future,” Mr Ratnayake added.
The industry act for PUCSL to regulate the downstream Petroleum Industry prepared by the Legal Draftsmen was cleared by the Attorney General in 2012. However, it needs to be recertified by the Attorney General after checking the accordance with the 20th Amendment to the Constitution and passed in the Parliament.
The PUCSL and the Energy Ministry also launched a declaration of rights and obligations of consumers of Petroleum products and Procedure for Handling Complaints & Resolution of Disputes to resolve the grievances of consumers on December 1, 2021 to address the issues of lack of a proper mechanism to handle the complaints of consumers who uses all grades of Petrol, Kerosene and diesel and to address the issues that consumers face with regard to product and service quality.