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Tipping The Scales In The Consumers’ Favour #400757
02/22/11 09:05 AM
02/22/11 09:05 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 64,753
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
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? v 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…

Channel 7

Re: Tipping The Scales In The Consumers’ Favour [Re: Marty] #405659
04/20/11 08:56 AM
04/20/11 08:56 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 64,753
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Butane Update: Where Are The Scales

If you go and buy butane right now, there's a 99% chance that you won't be sold by the pound; in fact, chances are, you won't even see a scale on the premises!

So, then, was all that talk about scales and new regulations just a whole lot of hot air?

Well it wasn't, and even though the deadline and the extension of implementation have long passed, now we are being told, these things take time.

According to the spokesperson for the Belize Bureau Of Standards, only two scales have been verifies so far countrywide. We have learned that those scales are for two companies that sell only BNE butane.

But, all the other importing companies, still don't have their scales in the country yet. According to the bureau it is in possession of the invoices showing the shipping dates. All the scales have to be imported because none of the ones sold in Belize met the required standard. The Bureau has received 16 applications but does not expect that it will be finished with the verifications of those scales until the end of May. "Verification" means affixing the scales with the bureau of standards stickers - a time consuming process - because there are only two personnel to do it - and in some cases they will have to check 30 scales at one butane dealer.

Of course, - and this is an editorial comment - a plausible reason that it's taking so long to get the scales imported is because the companies don't want to do it, simply because scales are bad for businesses, especially when those businesses are built on skimming, or what one company calls "inventory efficiency."

The new regulations for scale were signed into law in February.

Channel 7

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