Confusion prevailed at several cooking gas agencies and households in the city on Friday.
A day after the Centre increased the cap on subsidised domestic LPG cylinders to nine from six per household in a financial year (and up to five from three, until March 31, 2013), several households in the city were supplied non-subsidised cylinders.
The reason behind this was the time taken to effect the change in the software at the distributorships. Also, since LPG agencies generate bills a day ahead of delivery, it could not be reversed.
While some households turned away the delivery men, those that accepted the supply ended up paying Rs. 890 for a cylinder that would have cost them just Rs. 398 at the subsidised rate.
On Thursday, the government decided that beginning April 2013, a household would be supplied nine subsidised cylinders in a financial year instead of the earlier stipulated limit of six.
While taking the decision last September, the government also set a limit of three subsidised cylinders per household for the rest of the current financial year. On Thursday, this was increased to five, a decision that took effect on Friday. This meant, households that had utilised their quota of three subsidised cylinders were eligible for two more till March 31.
But with the bills already sent to the godown, delivery boys, on Friday, continued supplying non-subsidised cylinders to households. Incidentally, the price of these cylinders was increased by Rs. 46 each, which too, went largely unnoticed.
“After learning that they were eligible for two more subsidised cylinders, some consumers approached me. When I contacted the distributors in the western suburbs, they agreed to refund the excess amount billed,” said T. Sadagopan, a consumer activist.
Claiming that the number of such supplies was negligible, an Indane official said wherever it had happened, the consumer would be refunded.
However, an official of BPCL said, it was not possible for them to refund the amount as the bill had been generated and the supply made.
Cooking gas agencies received several customer enquiries and cancellation of bookings of non-subsidised domestic cylinders.
Indane distributors were advised to switch off the IVRS connection until the software was upgraded. “We also recalled and cancelled hundreds of bills,” a distributor said, adding the system had stabilised.
The customer enquiries, according to distributors, pertained to the new eligibility, past consumption and prices of cylinders.