Thursday 9 February 2023

Gas companies must change cylinder valves, not users

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QCOSTARICA – In some neighborhoods in the south of San José, gas companies (“gaseras”) are forcing small distributors to tell customers that when returning gas cylinders they must deliver do so with the new threaded valves and that if they do not, they must change them at their cost.

Gas companies had to May 2020 to convert all their cylinders to threaded. But then covid happened…

But that is not true, it is the responsibility of the gaseras to change the valves and offer cylinders to customers with the threaded and not the old, dangerous, system of “coupling and hope it doesn’t leak” valves.

The practice of asking the consumer to assume the cost of replacing the valves is an outrage and abuse of the rights of users confirmed the Regulatory Authority of Public Services (Aresep) and the Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae), the government agencies that regulate gas sales.

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Before a decree of the Minae of 2018, the two valves were approved, but most of the cylinders had the coupling, which according to Bomberos (Fire Department) is less safe. In 2018, the threaded valve was the only one to be used, but the gas companies had time to May 2020 to make the change.

This is the “plug in and hope it doesn’t leak” valve. It may also be blue. These connectors have a history of not connecting properly and leaking, very dangerous in that in most homes in Costa Rica the cylinder is in the house, in the kitchen, next to the stove.

Two more years

However, due to the pandemic, gas companies asked Minae for more time. As typical of some government agencies, their response is not what one would call timely.

To this day, the Minae has yet to define the new deadline. Ronny Rodríguez, the Aresep liason with the office of Vice Ministry of Energy would only say that the gaseras would be given another 24 months – depending on when it is published in La Gaceta – which deadline would most likely be in December 2022 or January 2023.

“With all the more reason, knowing that in the next two years the bottles will not have the capacity to change one hundred percent of valves, you can never require a user to change it and less to pay for it. It is the gas companies that must bear the cost and the idea is that every time people find more ready-made cylinders in the shops ”, added the Aresep.

The threaded connector cylinder is safer and recommended

Coupling vs Threaded

To understand this better, consumers must purchase the gas cylinders for use in their gas stoves and gas bbq.

Once purchased, they can then trade their empty cylinder, either at the gas company or an authorized distributor, which in many cases is the local pulperia (corner store), for a filled cylinder (of course paying for the gas).

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The recommendation, for safety, is to receive only cylinders with the threaded valve.

Of course, this means incurring the cost of replacing the gas hose with the threaded connector.

If you are asked to change the valve yourself, for example, the authorized outlet will not allow you to swap one type of cylinder for the other without paying for it, send an email to Aresep and report what is happening with the name and address of the place to start the investigation.


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