The LPG Marketers’ Association (LPGMA) on Saturday urged the Departments of Energy and Justice to investigate bulk suppliers of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for possible overpricing.
LPGMA Party-list Rep. Arnel Ty said the task force created by the two departments was mandated to act against any unwarranted increases in the prices of petroleum products such as LPG.
“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,” Ty said.
He added that 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 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 said.
According to the House deputy minority leader, the contract price of LPG abroad was $471 per ton in February and $472 per ton in March. This, he said, should have translated to an insignificant increment of not more than four centavos per kilo in local prices.
“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,” Ty said.
The lawmaker said the “unjustifiable increases” implied that bulk suppliers are punishing consumers with an extra cost of 46 centavos to P1.46 per kilo.
The price of the global benchmark Brent crude oil 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 and 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.