THE Department of Energy (DoE) said it will “guide” the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry in complying with the law to discourage the spread of counterfeit LPG products and deter unsafe practices.

“We need to be more perceptive of the demands of the LPG industry. We, at the Department, will ensure proper facilitation and monitoring of the industry and guide the LPG industry participants in understanding the objectives of the law for the benefit of our consumers,” Alessandro O. Sales, Energy undersecretary said during the LPG summit on Friday.

According to the DoE, LPG demand in 2021 was 3,272 million liters (ML), up 3.5%.

The DoE has yet to release LPG demand estimates for 2022. Sales in the nine months to September hit at 2,431 ML.

“With its high demand, the LPG industry has significantly widened its market, but some of its participants are engaging in unfair and unsafe trade practices, impairing consumers and to a full extent, causing negative externalities to society,” the DoE said in a statement.

The Bureau of Fire Protection tallied 1,254 fire incidents between 2010 and 2021 linked to LPG use.

“Although small in number, the gravity to property and lives is enormous. This is the very reason why the government puts safety as the major focus in the business of LPG,” the DoE said.

The LPG Industry Regulation Act or Republic Act No. 11592 includes an LPG Cylinder Improvement Program to ensure withdrawal from the market of unsafe cylinders to minimize LPG-related explosions and fires.

Mr. Sales said the DoE will phase out generic and unmarked cylinders and impose sanctions on illegal refillers.

The DoE and Department of Trade and Industry released a joint department circular to strengthen the DoE’s authority to issue licenses for DoE-regulated LPG industry participants.

The DoE said the LPG Cylinder Exchange, Swapping, and Improvement Programs, and its Implementing Guidelines will allow the department to suspend operations and recommend revocation of licenses of violators. — Ashley Erika O. Jose