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LPG portability flops: Gas agencies trying to retain existing customers

Published Nov 24, 2013, 12:41 pm IST
Updated Mar 18, 2019, 8:00 pm IST
Union petroleum ministry's LPG portability scheme finds no takers in Hyderabad and Vizag.
HyderabadThere are not many takers for the LPG portability scheme that was announced by the Union petroleum ministry in October this year. Though it has been nearly two months since the scheme was launched in Hyderabad and Vizag, hardly a hundred consumers in the city, out of a total of 13 lakh domestic LPG consumers, have availed of the facility so far.
Lack of awareness among consumers besides limited choices available for changing OMCs and gas agencies are said to be the reasons for the poor response. The scheme allows consumers to change OMCs and gas dealers if they are not satisfied with their existing provider.
However, gas agencies are now trying their best to retain their consumers by offering better services. Some agencies are seeking feedbacks from consumers to assess the “satisfaction levels” of the consumers regarding their services. Delivery boys are asking consumers to fill feedback forms while delivering cylinders and are seeking on the spot responses from consumers on problems faced by them in getting refills, checking  gas pipes, regulators and stoves to ensure safety and are also asking consumers to take special insurance covers to claim damages in case of accidents.
“The common problem being faced by many consumers is the delay in getting refills. But as gas distributors we cannot be held responsible for that. Whatever stocks we get from the OMCs, we supply to the consumers. If there is a shortage at the OMC level, there will be a delay in supplying refills. We have been informing the consumers about this and they too are understanding our difficulties,” said D. Ashok Kumar, president, Hyderabad LPG Dealers’ Association.
Customers, meanwhile, say that the LPG portability scheme is not like mobile number portability due to lack of choices. “Only three companies are available under LPG portability. They all belong to the Central government and function und-er the Union petroleum ministry. It won’t make a difference if we shift from one OMC to another or one gas agency to another. There is competition to offer better services among private mobile operators, which is not the case here,” said T. Vinay Kumar, a consumer.
Location: Andhra Pradesh