Sunday, October 7, 2012



Musings of a Clueless Novice Self-Styled Property Guru Part 17

In recent times, many builders in Pune offer Piped LPG Cooking Gas Facility in their residential projects.

In the Piped Gas System, or Reticulated LPG System as it is called, domestic cooking gas cylinders are supplied in bulk to the “Gas Bank” of the residential housing colony and consequently to the customer’s kitchen through a pipeline network connected to the cylinder bank in the residential society premises.

This is a much more efficient, economical, safe, reliable, logistically convenient, cost-effective method of supplying cooking gas rather than each apartment having individual gas cylinders, and, most importantly, it saves precious LPG.

Obviously, buying a house in such a residential complex having piped gas costs more since the builder has to set up the infrastructure (gas banks, gas pipelines, safety valves, meters etc) and he is going to pass on the cost to the buyer. In addition, there are annual maintenance costs as well which you will have to pay the society.

I too bought a home in one such project, and I must say that, as compared to having individual cylinders in each house, I found that piped gas is extremely hassle-free and convenient and the system was running efficiently.

So, though one had to pay more for a house in a society with piped gas, at that point of time, it seemed worth it, at least in the long run. 

Hence, most consumers surrendered their earlier LPG connections and opted for the piped gas facility.

Now, due a sudden absurd change in policy by the government and oil companies, these hapless consumers have realized that they made a big mistake by switching over to piped gas.


Here are some questions and answers:

Q: If there are 300 households in a residential society using LPG Piped Gas, what are the number of Gas Connections?

A: 300

Q: With a cap of 6 subsidized cylinders per connection per year how many subsidized cylinders would the society be entitled per year?

A: 300 X 6 = 1800

You may get bewildered and dumbfounded when I tell you that, as per the government’s bizarre logic, both your answers are wrong.

Here are the “right” answers:

1. The entire housing society comprising 300 households will be treated as One Connection (though basic commonsense says that each household must be treated as one connection and 300 households rightly add up to 300 connections)

2. This means that only 6 subsidized LPG cylinders will be given to 300 consumers (instead of 1800) in one year.

Isn’t this a preposterous policy which defies logic?

Owing to this ridiculous policy, the monthly piped gas bill is going to triple (increase by 300%) since a you cannot avail of subsidized cylinders (yes, your bill will be almost three times your present bill since an unsubsidized cylinder now costs more that Rs. 900 as compared to the earlier cost of Rs. 400).

And now that LPG has been de-controlled, Oil Companies will keep raising the price of LPG frequently and your piped gas bill will soon sky-rocket and become so expensive that it will become unaffordable. 

Thus, sooner of later, you will be forced to discontinue your piped gas and revert back to your earlier individual LPG cylinder system, because if you do that, then you will be entitled to six subsidized cylinders every year. As customers start discontinuing piped gas due to exorbitantly high costs, supplying piped gas will become financially non-viable and this will lead to piped gas companies shutting down.

Instead of encouraging the use of Piped Gas which is safer, economical, logistically efficient and saves precious LPG, it is incomprehensible and baffling why the government is taking the retrograde step of forcing consumers to go back to individual cylinders.

Leave aside the efficiency, safety and convenience aspects of piped gas but just look at the wastage of time, money, effort and fuel involved in servicing individual LPG cylinders as compared to piped gas.

Instead of the gas truck coming just once a week to replenish the gas bank, the gas truck will now have to come almost every day to supply individual refill cylinders to each of the 300 households.

And, going by news reports, in the city of Pune alone, this wastage is going to replicated in over 350 residential societies which have piped gas systems.

(With each residential society having 200 – 300 households on the average, just imagine the colossal waste of diesel fuel, increase in pollution and traffic due to increased vehicular movement of gas trucks, avoidable increase in consumption of scarce LPG, compromise in safety, inconvenience to the customer and unnecessary burden of logistic effort to the distributor)

What a colossal waste due to a ludicrous decision by some incompetent “babu” sitting faraway in Delhi.

Bureaucracies tend to be stubborn and are averse to changing their decisions, however specious, absurd and illogical those decisions may be.

So you can forget about better sense prevailing on the government and oil companies.

In the circumstances, what can you do?


Just avoid buying a house in a project fitted with a piped gas system.

Why pay extra for something you are never going to use?

Dear Reader: Do you agree? Please comment - I look forward to your views and feedback.
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