LP Gas Filling Stations Called Unsafe and Illegal
(Acapulco, NA 24 December) Acapulco’s daily, Novedades de Acapulco, reports that the all the LP gas filling stations in Acapulco are operating illegally and are ignoring safety measures. According to the report, the federal Energy Department must license LP gas filling stations after an inspection of safety precautions and procedures. So far, not one station in Acapulco has been licensed, though 15 are in operation.
The law requires, among other things, that tanks be transported safely to and from the stations and that each filled tank have a functioning valve, which is to be sealed after filling with the name of the company and other information, to guaranty the purity and correct quantity of the product. Local citizens often arrive at the filling stations on foot with their empty tanks. After filling them, they return home by city bus, which is both unsafe and illegal. Stations are not permitted to refill tanks if a secure means of transport is not visible.
Trucks belonging to the gas companies circulate throughout the city to exchange empty cylinders with full ones for an extra charge, but they often omit the required valve seal. Citizens frequently complain that the tanks thus exchanged are not properly filled or do not contain 100% LP gas. Several of the companies in Acapulco are owned by the same persons.
Novedades de Acapulco recommends that LP gas customers make sure safety procedures are taken when tanks are refilled and that the seal, with all the required information, is placed on the valve. Tanks should be weighed prior to filling and afterwards and the customer charged for the difference in weight. Filling station personnel often run through the process hurriedly, making it difficult for customers to confirm that they have received a complete fill. It is better to refill tanks at the filling stations, in spite of the lax safety discipline, as the tanks in circulation on the distributors’ trucks are not subject to confirmation of proper weight.