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Bacolod City, PhilippinesMonday, August 22, 2011
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HOUSE URGED
Probe LPG price disparity, too

Lawmakers have been urged to investigate the “excessive” retail prices of liquefied petroleum gas in the Visayas and Mindanao that are almost 14 percent higher than those in Luzon, a press release from Congress said.

“The House committee on energy should look into the matter, which we find exceptionally harsh and burdensome to consumers in the Visayas and Mindanao,” House Assistant Majority Leader and Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas said.

 Gullas was responding to findings that LPG in the Visayas and Mindanao costs at least P100 more per 11-kilogram cylindercompared to prevailing retail prices in Metro Manila and Luzon.

 Department of Energy officials bared their findings in the course of a congressional budget hearing.

 Gullas said his office was able to independently verify the unusually large price discrepancy over the weekend. He noted that, in the case of the 11-kg Petron Gasul, it is being sold for P828 and P727 in Cebu City and Quezon City respectively – a price difference of P101 or nearly 14 percent.

 Gullas blamed the extreme prices on the lack of free and fair competition in the LPG market in the Visayas and Mindanao.

 He noted that Petron Corp. now dominates the LPG market in the Visayas and Mindanao, after the company acquired the cooking gas business of Chevron Philippines Inc. (formerly Caltex Philippines Inc.), the press release said.

 Next to Petron, Gullas said there are only two other LPG players in the Visayas and Mindanao – Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. and Pryce Gases Inc. A fourth player, Total (Philippines) Corp., gets its bulk supply of LPG in the Visayas and Mindanao from Shell.

 Strong competition will surely help bring down LPG prices outside Luzon, he said.

 The LPG Marketers’ Association Party, which represents Luzon-based independent small re-fillers and dealers in Congress, has already filed a formal complaint against the “inordinately high” cooking fuel prices in the Visayas and Luzon, the press release said.

“We are all getting behind the complaint filed by LPG/MA,” Gullas said.*

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