Dáil Éireann - Volume 405 - 26 February, 1991

Written Answers. - Bottled Gas Price Statistics.

34.Mr. Noonan (Limerick East) asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will outline the price of a standard cylinder of gas for domestic purposes on the following dates, (1) 1 July 1990, (2) 1 October 1990, (3) 1 January 1991 and (4) 20 February 1991; the reason the price of bottled gas rises in parallel with petrol and diesel prices but does not decline in parallel with them; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. O'Malley): I would refer the Deputy to my replies to Question Nos. 221, by Deputy R. Bruton on 30 January 1991, and No.77, by Deputy T. Gregory on 13 February 1991. I would wish to reiterate that I do not have official information [1476] available to me on prices for products not subject to statutory price control. However, in the course of a price monitoring exercise exceptionally undertaken by my Department in the context of the Gulf crisis, the information made available by the Irish suppliers indicates that the recommended retail prices of a standard cylinder of LPG increased from £9.46 to £10.23 in September 1990 and to £10.90 in October 1990. I have also been advised that one of these companies have recently been advertising a special price promotion for a limited period amounting to a price reduction of about 9 per cent. I am not in a position to state the prices actually being charged in individual retail outlets throughout the State.

The information given to me by the suppliers does not support the contention by Deputy Noonan that the price of bottled gas moves in parallel with petrol and diesel prices. I am advised by the industry that, because the LPG product market is subject to far greater seasonal variation of price than petrol or diesel, it has been the long-standing practice that recommended retail prices are set by the respective LPG-supplying companies, in the expectation that they will over-recover their product costs in the summer and under-recover those costs in the winter. In this way, a relatively stable price level is maintained throughout the year and this is seen to be desirable by the distributors and users alike.