Move to slice margin of error at pumps

Move to slice margin of error at pumps

Ministry wants to placate consumers

Petrol dispensers at a PTT station in Bangkok. Officials have inspected 2,231 petrol stations and 34,907 dispensers this year. Varuth Hirunyatheb
Petrol dispensers at a PTT station in Bangkok. Officials have inspected 2,231 petrol stations and 34,907 dispensers this year. Varuth Hirunyatheb

The Commerce Ministry looks set to reduce the margin of error for fuel dispensers at petrol stations to ensure accuracy and fairness for consumers, with enforcement expected within 1-2 weeks.

According to Chakra Yodmani, deputy director-general of the Internal Trade Department, Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai instructed the department to review the criteria for the margin of error for fuel dispensers at petrol stations.

The directive aims to reduce the margin of error to ensure accuracy and fairness for consumers, he said.

Mr Chakra said the department listened to feedback from all relevant stakeholders, incorporating them into discussions of the Committee for Weights and Measures, chaired by the permanent commerce secretary.

The ministry recently issued an announcement regarding the specifications and characteristics of measuring meters, fluid volume, details of materials used in production, maximum permissible errors and the certification validity period.

The criteria had two amendments. The first involved reducing the margin of error for inspection in the certification of fuel dispensers, from a maximum of ±0.5% to a maximum of ±0.3%.

For inspection during use, the margin of error is reduced from a maximum of ±1% to a maximum of ±0.5%.

The second change involves reducing the certification validity period from two years to one year, increasing the frequency of inspections and decreasing the likelihood of errors.

Mr Chakra said this announcement is in the process of being published in the Royal Gazette to inform the public and relevant business entities.

It is expected to be enforced within 1-2 weeks.

The Internal Trade Department sent notifications to the Energy Ministry, oil traders and various fuel stations for their cooperation and awareness, he said.

In addition, Mr Phumtham issued an order appointing provincial commercial officials and civil servants under the Weights and Measures Act of 1999 to reinforce the inspection of fuel dispensers at petrol stations, beyond the inspections conducted by the 32 regional branches of the Weights and Measures Office.

This year, inspections have been conducted at 2,231 petrol stations, covering 34,907 dispensers.

Of these, 2,217 stations with 34,885 dispensers were found to be in compliance, while 14 stations with 22 dispensers were in violation, noted the department.

Violations included lacking certification or expired certification at two stations with eight dispensers, while 12 stations with 14 dispensers were found to have errors in fuel dispensing.

Legal action was pursued for these violations, with the penalties for operating uncertified dispensers or those with expired certifications, or for dispensing inaccurate fuel amounts include imprisonment for up to six months, a fine of up to 20,000 baht, or both.

The penalty for modifying fuel dispensers or any weighing or measuring devices is imprisonment for up to seven years, a fine of up to 280,000 baht, or both.

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