Your butane company won't be able to rip you off anymore - or it'll be much harder - because you'll be able to check how much you're getting on a scale - and that's the law!
Here at 7news we've been pushing for it for almost two weeks - and today at noon, the Statutory Instrument was signed into law by minister of Economic Development Erwin Contreras.
The law says that quote: (look down)
"All suppliers of liquid petroleum gas are required to have a weighing instrument (that means scale) at their place of business, and all motor vehicles used for delivery of LPG must also be equipped with a measuring instrument."
The deadline for compliance is within 30 days - which is how long LP Gas and Supplies in Spanish Lookout says it will take to get in more platform scales like the one they use. As we told you, after our story, all six scales in stock were sold within an hour.
So, bottom line, this time next month, every butane truck and depot in Belize should have a scale that can show you how much pounds of butane you're getting.
And this is where it gets a little complex for people, because you're actually buying by the gallon, so what does that mean in pounds?
Simple: 22 gallons should be equivalent to a hundred pounds;
11 gallons, 50 pounds and 5.5 gallons, 25 pounds.
If you want to make it a little more precise - but also a little more complex - each gallon should weigh about four and a half pounds.
Remember, you'll have to do it just like we did: weigh your tank empty to know the dead weight, and then weigh it after to calculate how many pounds were put in.
It's simple enough but if you're not completely filling an empty tank - and we know many folks can't afford to do that - simply remember, again, that every gallon that reads on the meter should weigh about four and a half pounds.
Again, the deadline for the companies to put in the scales is within 30 days - although since Friday we've seen quite a few delivery trucks zipping around with scales onboard.
Still, that's only preliminary. The law says that all those scales will have to be sent in to the Bureau of Standards for verification, when the sticker of approval will be attached and the seal put on before the scales can be legitimately used.
The butane companies will be charged a hundred dollar fee for each scale to be verified.
Once they've been given the bureau's seal of approval, the scales also have to be prominently displayed and clearly visible to the consumer.
And so that's the good news: you'll have a properly calibrated and approved scale to check in 30 days, but the bad news is that for those companies who don't comply, or persist in thievery, there's not much of a penalty.
The law says that: "the penalty is five thousand dollars and or imprisonment of six months or both."
In the vast scheme of things, these are fuel companies - many of them are multinationals - and five thousand dollars is not much money at all.
But, the problem is that five thousand dollars is currently the maximum penalty that can be affixed under the 2003 metrology act - and to impose a higher penalty - the entire act has to be amended, which will take some time. The push to make that amendment has already started.
Of course, we'll keep following the story and have more tomorrow…