Gas shortage frustration
Cape Town – Waiting lists, strict quotas and inflated prices are preventing customers from stocking up on LP gas this winter.
A major gas shortage has hit retailers and suppliers hard, but the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) said the output from the country’s refineries had not dropped.
Instead, it blamed the gas drought on increased demand rather than reduced supply. Eddlesgas’ financial director, JC Smit, said gas supplies had “dried up” since June 25.
“We hear all sorts of reasons why this is happening, but none of which anyone is willing to put on paper to show me,” Smit said.
The Kirstenhof company has a backlog of orders, and some customers have reported waiting as long as two weeks before new gas arrives.
At least five other companies in Cape Town have also complained of being short on supplies.
On online forums, users complained about arriving at stores and being restricted to buying small canisters or being placed on two-week-long waiting lists.
But Sapia’s executive director, Fani Tshifularo, said that all the country’s refineries were up and running, producing the same amount of gas as they had in previous years.
He said the supply was simply not enough and that, with continuing maintenance and an ageing infrastructure, the country’s gas industry was unlikely ever to satisfy consumer demand.
“We just don’t have enough refineries,” he said.
June, July and August are generally the busiest months for many gas suppliers. The cold weather drives up demand. But now, Smit said, they had lost a significant amount of business.
“I’ve got a list of orders, backlogs of orders, and we’ve just had to resort to doing it on a first-come-first-serve basis.”
“It is very frustrating not being able to help the customer. People don’t always understand the situation we are in.”
Smit said suppliers had indicated that the situation would improve by the end of the week. “We will just have to wait and see.”
Published by IOL
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