Rey Anthony Chiu
TAGBILARAN CITY, October 8, 2013 (PIA) –Just how certain are we, that the one liter we are getting from gas stations is really one liter?
In times when even a single drop of gas matters with the way fuel is priced, Department of Energy (DOE) authorities admitted cases of under deliveries can happen, and it could be nearly impossible for the energy bureau to effectively cover all gas stations and check their pumps if these have been calibrated right.
Under delivery happens when a consumer gets way below the volume he should get from the amount he paid.
For a station to dispense a thousand liters a day and at the current price of fuel, a small difference in under-deliveries can sum up to huge profits for the gas stations and huge loss to industries.
On this, DOE Oil Industry Management Bureau (OIMB) Director Zenaida Monsada said the task of making sure the gas pumps are calibrated right to prevent shortchanged users, is now entrusted to the Local Government Units (LGUs).
“The LGUs, which issue the business permits of these pump station owners, are now delegated to inspect and calibrate the pumps on a regular basis, to make sure there is no fuel under-delivery, to the loss of fuel consumers,” Director Monsada shared to oil industry stakeholders during a briefing held at the Crown Regency Hotel in Cebu Friday.
The DOE trains Municipal, City and Provincial Treasurers Office personnel on the technical aspects of calibrating these gas pumps, to make sure that fuel consumers get what they pay, according to DOE’s Engr Rey Malleza.
In the absence of an LGU technical staff to do the calibration, the LGU should send in a person who oversees the calibration of the pumps, before that person puts in the seal to prevent station owners from tampering the calibrated pumps anew, she added.
During calibration, the team, composed of pump station owners, an LGU representative and a technician, would be using a calibration bucket which the DOE uses to maintain a standard tool.
In calibrations, gas is pumped out of the station stand on a 10 liter calibration bucket and inspectors would make sure that the gas does not go beyond 50 milliliters mark off the 10 liter mark, otherwise the station can be liable for under deliveries, according to Monsada.
Consuming public can file a formal complaint to the LGU and the DOE if they have probable cause to suspect that a station is under delivering fuel.
This also means that if a station is under delivering fuel to consumers, it could be because LGUs care less about their job of protecting their consumer constituents, notes an information officer who attended the briefing which also had members of the media present.