Distributors record drop in LPG cylinder bookings

Summer heat and steep increase in prices blamed for the fall in demand

April 07, 2022 12:39 am | Updated 12:39 am IST - CHENNAI

LPG distributors say usually LPG prices come down during summer because of dip in demand.

LPG distributors say usually LPG prices come down during summer because of dip in demand. | Photo Credit: B. VELANKANNI RAJ

Distributors say the summer heat and increase in cooking gas prices has led to a dip in the number of bookings of LPG cylinders this month. “Bookings are usually heavy during the first half of the month. But the numbers are very sluggish and consumers who come to the agency are grumbling about high prices and having to shell out close to ₹1,000 per cylinder,” said a distributor. 

A 14 kg domestic cylinder is priced at ₹976 in Chennai and the rate came into effect on March 22, the same day when petrol and diesel prices were hiked.

Consumers peeved

“We usually pay a tip of ₹20 per cylinder to the delivery boy and if we add this to the price, it is ₹996. The government should not hike LPG prices in such a manner,” said S. Komala, a resident of T. Nagar. 

Another distributor said successive governments considered LPG as an essential commodity and had provided universal subsidy. “They did not want to make a profit out of this. But times are changing. The talk in the industry is that the price of a domestic LPG cylinder is likely to go up by ₹260,” he said. 

An industry expert said while the price hike hurts a section of the people, it protects the government’s income. “The hikes will continue till that point of time when the government perceives that these commodities are affordable. In fact,it is this perceptionof the government that is the determining factor,” he said.

Feeling the impact

Lakshmi, a homemaker from Kannagi Nagar, said they had reduced the number of items being cooked daily and had switched to a firewood stove to save on gas. “We cook twice a day, don’t heat the food like we used to during the rains, don’t heat water for bathing and boil water for drinking. We are trying to stretch the gas cylinder from the usual 40 days,” she said.

Another distributor said they usually see a drop in bookings during summer, which was due to people moving to native places and the closure of schools and change in food habits during the holidays. However, prices come down during summer due to lack of demand. “This time it is very different,” he added.

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