A LOCAL cooperative is seeing a boost in sales of refillable liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders, as it plans to tap other cooperatives in the province to distribute the product.
Philippine Eco-gas Producers Cooperative (PEPC) chairman Francisco Reyes Jr. said it plans to grow its distribution network, seeing the robust demand for welded stainless steel gas cylinders, deemed a safer alternative to butane canisters refilled with LPG that are illegally sold in the market.
“We intend to market the product in the whole country through our dealers, as well as connect with cooperatives and gasoline stations to grow our market,” said Reyes.
He cited the product’s affordability, ease of use and convenience as among its unique selling features, aside from its being a refillable gas cylinder.
The high price of LPG tanks, high cost and supply scarcity of charcoal have led consumers to turn to the illegal use of refilled butane for cooking.
A consumer has to pay P250 for the cylinder and an additional P22 for the LPG content. Once consumed, the cylinder can be refilled. Listed oil firm Phoenix Petroleum Philippines is the authorized LPG refiller.
Other sources of growth
The cooperative is also banking on the rise of outdoor activities such as camping or glamping (glamorous camping) as another source of growth. He said these are popularly used during picnics, mountain climbing and other leisure activities.
But Reyes said majority of their customers purchase the product for household use.
Since its launch in September 2018, the cooperative already has 19 accredited dealers and retailers in Cebu.
However, it has 80 more business partners whose applications for standards compliance certificate (SCC) are still pending before the Department of Energy (DOE).
Reyes said they have urged the DOE to speed up the release of the SCCs so their retail partners could begin their business.
The cooperative sees the marketing of the product as a solution to the ongoing battle against the illegal distribution, refilling and marketing of butane canisters, which are considered hazardous to the community.
What consumers don’t understand is that once a butane canister is consumed, it cannot be refilled with LPG, said Reyes.
The DOE said old butane canisters are dangerous because the containers cannot hold the pressure of the LPG, which could result in combustion.
As part of the cooperative’s marketing and safety campaign initiatives, Reyes said a consumer may bring four empty butane canisters in exchange for one gas cylinder. He said this saves the consumer from paying the P250 rate.
PEPC’s LPG cylinders have been approved by the DOE, Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Environment and Natural Resources. (KOC)