Ministry urged to be specific about fuel price cuts

The Energy Ministry should make clear to the public that it intends to lower fuel prices under the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) price float for the household sector due in September, traders say.

A man prepares to deliver cooking gas cylinders to customers. The cooking gas price will rise by37%or 6.69 baht per kg to 24.82 baht by August next year from 18.13 baht now. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

Starting next month, the LPG price in the household sector will increase by 50 satang a kilogramme in each of 12 consecutive months.

Under the scheme, the cooking gas price will rise by 37% or 6.69 baht per kg to 24.82 baht by August next year from 18.13 baht now.

The Energy Ministry has said the price float will cut the financial burden of the state-owned Oil Fund by 50 million baht per month. The proceeds will be used to lower oil prices in the transport sector.

"The ministry must guarantee that oil prices will lower by making public the exact figures per litre," said Chaisanupong Rungrojngumcharoen, head of the LPG Traders Association.

Suthep Liumsirijarern, director-general of the Energy Policy and Planning Office, said it is not clear what types of fuel will see price cuts.

"It wouldn't be fair if oil prices are high despite lowering the price of cooking gas," he said at a seminar hosted by the Energy Ministry yesterday.

The 7.5 million low-income households, defined as those using no more than 90 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, and 170,000 food vendors will be subsidised so that they can continue to buy LPG at 18.13 baht.

These groups must register with their local administrations or the ministry until Aug 30 to receive a PIN code. When buying LPG, they will have to send the code via SMS to a call centre.

Low-income households will get a capped LPG price at a maximum volume of 18 kg per quarter, while street vendors will be limited to 150 kg per month.

With the Oil Fund subsidy, the LPG price has been capped at 18.13 baht or US$333 per tonne for more than two decades, even though the global price has increased to $838 a tonne from $500 in 2006.

Last year, the household sector accounted for 41% of LPG use.

LPG in the transport sector, which has been capped at 21.38 baht per kg, will rise incrementally by 50 satang a month starting next February until reaching 24.82 baht.

Some 36,000 LPG shops nationwide are being trained to provide consumer and registration information.

Thailand consumes 20.7 million tonnes of LPG a day.

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Writer: Nanchanok Wongsamuth
Position: News Reporter