The state-owned oil marketing companies have decided to keep the price of non-subsidised domestic cooking gas cylinders unchanged for January.

Consequently, the price will remain at the October, 2012 level of Rs.890 a cylinder (in Chennai).

The decision to keep the price unchanged comes even as the cost of international liquefied petroleum gas price dropped. The reduction is as much as Rs.2,600 per tonne, according to sources in BPCL.

The price of the 19 kg commercial cylinder was reduced by Rs.52.50 to Rs.1,788, while that of exempted category domestic (14.2 kg) cylinder in Chennai was brought down by Rs.40 to Rs.1,277.50. Barring subsidised refills, the price of all other LPG cylinders is subject to monthly revision in line with international LPG price.

Officials of IOC said the decision not to revise the non-subsidised domestic cylinder price was taken as it was sold below the cost for the last two months. The companies were not able to increase the price in November and December despite international LPG prices rising since the government did not permit them. An increase in the price of the non-subsidised domestic cylinders in November had to be put on hold within hours of the companies announcing it. In December, there was no announcement at all. The Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat were cited as the reasons.

Had the companies increased the price, the cost of non-subsidised domestic cylinder would be around Rs.945 last month. In that event, the price would have reduced this month to somewhere near the October level, an official says. The demand for non-subsidised domestic refills was on the rise with households exhausting their quota of subsidised cylinders. The government had, in September last, introduced a cap on subsidised cylinders – of three cylinders till March, and six in the financial year beginning April 2013.

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