Consumers in a quandary as gas supplies remain short


The tug-o-war between gas suppliers and consumers continues with inadequate stocks of either Laugfs or Litro to meet the pent-up demand. This despite Laugfs now back in the retail market after a month’s absence, though running only a limited operation.

“I’m a Litro consumer and I’ve had a hard time exchanging my empty spare cylinder for a full one due to the prevailing shortage,” a consumer said.

“Like most people who can afford it, I have two cylinders, one connected to the cooker and a spare in reserve so that I can get a refill no sooner the cylinder in use empties. But with supplies scarce, I’d like to have a Laugfs cylinder and a spare too so that I can get at least Laugfs when Litro is unavailable.”

His problem was no empty cylinder of either brand are available anywhere, not even in a blackmarket that sprouts in situations like this.

Consumers are therefore in a predicament in the current situation and have to scrounge around for supplies of either brand – provided that they have an empty to exchange for a full cylinder. But Litro won’t accept Laugfs cylinders and vice versa.

Given that government is holding the Litro price to previous levels and the brand is therefore cheaper than the new Laugfs price, consumers will prefer Litro. But they’ll take either brand provided they have an empty cylinder to exchange for a full one.

The occasional gas truck of both brands is seen on the roads sometimes but dealers are woefully short of supplies.

A Laugfs distributor in Homagama told this reporter on Friday that although his daily requirement is 1,500 cylinders of 12.5 kg, he receives only about 500-600 units.

“I can’t send stocks to dealers because people are coming here in scores and scrambling to buy gas whenever a load comes in. All stocks get sold right here. Consumers came here from Wadduwa, Matugama and Bulathsinhala. Those who can’t come to distributor outlets have hardly any chance of buying a cylinder elsewhere,” he said.

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