Department of Energy warns against illegally-refilled LPG canisters

A campaign was launched by Department of Energy (DOE) secretary Alfonso Cusi against the proliferation of illegal LPG-refilling activities, particularly involving LPG-refilled butane canisters.

Amid the repeated warning being aired in recent days, Cusi, through the department’s  Oil Industry Management Bureau (OIMB) and Visayas Field Office (VFO), also met with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) suppliers operating in the region in a bid to further strengthen the said DOE campaign.

“Butane canisters that have been refilled with LPG are prohibited primarily because they are extremely dangerous. These are fire and explosive hazards. We would like to appeal to the public, especially to our kababayans in the Visayas where this illegal activity has been rampant -- don’t risk your lives and those of your children and loved ones. Do not buy these illegally refilled LPG canisters,”  Cusi underscores.

DOE-OIMB Assistant Director Rodela Romero and VFO Director Jose Rey Maleza, presided over the meeting where LPG suppliers were briefed on the continuing joint enforcement activities being undertaken by the DOE with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the various local government units (LGUs) concerned.

This includes, among others, the filing of criminal and administrative cases against those who have been found engaging in the unlawful refiling of LPG into non-compliant containers, as well as the LGUs’ provision of warehouse space for confiscated illegal items.

Data from the DOE-VFO indicate that since 2017, there have been 72 criminal cases filed by law enforcement agencies against illegal LPG refillers, found mostly in the provinces of Cebu and Bohol. Out of the 72, 42 cases resulted in convictions imposing penalties of either imprisonment, fines, or both.

LPG suppliers and marketers were directed to closely monitor their respective downlines as a measure to block supply sources of illegal refilling, strictly comply with the monthly reporting of LPG distribution, and to transact only with industry players bearing DOE-issued Standard Compliance Certificates.

Cusi said the DOE continues to assure the public that it is closely coordinating with the PNP in the Visayas and Mindanao regions to find ways to protect our consumers from this illegal and dangerous practice.

Alongside this development, the Department of Energy (DOE), through its Electric Power Industry Management Bureau -- Rural Electrification Administration and Management Division (EPIMB-REAMD), has successfully inspected 74 percent or 53 of the 72 development projects that have been implemented by various LGUs hosting generating facilities or power plants funded under the Energy Regulations No. 1-94 Program.

These inspections are in line with Cusi’s policy issuances which redirects the administration of the ER No. 1-94 Program to LGUs, as well as the first Implementation Advisory Letter on the guidelines for the direct remittance of financial benefits by Generation Companies to their host communities starting CY 2019.  Under the ER No. 1-94 or Benefits to Host Communities Program, pertinent LGUs are entitled to avail of financial benefits for hosting energy resources and/or energy-generating facilities within their territorial jurisdiction.

The said program provides for Generation Companies and/or energy resource developers to set aside P 0.01 per kilowatt-hour of their total electricity sales as financial benefits to host communities, which shall be allocated to three types of funds: one-half of one centavo for the Electrification Fund of the concerned Distribution Utilities; one-fourth of one centavo for the Development and Livelihood Fund; and another one-fourth of one centavo for the Reforestation, Watershed Management, Health and/or Environment Enhancement Fund of the host LGUs.

‘The Department has been working hard to complete the close-out of ER No. 1-94 projects so that the succeeding financial benefits will benefit the host communities directly, Cusi assures, adding that the direct remittance of financial benefits to host communities would lead to a considerable increase in public sector projects to be realized by host LGUs and their Distribution Utilities, which would redound to the benefit of their respective constituents and customers.

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