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Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

Saudi Arabia regulates cooking gas distribution and sales market

Saudi Arabia regulates cooking gas distribution and sales market

Saudi Arabia announced the rules regulating the relationship between service providers and consumers with regard to the distribution and sale of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) or cooking gas. The Ministry of Energy published on Saturday a guide detailing the procedures and terms and conditions related to the provision of the service of distributing and selling LPG, relying more on self-service and electronic services.
It is noteworthy that the government issued, in the beginning of this month, the executive regulations, organizational regulations, and guide for the provision of service of dry gas distribution system and LPG for residential and commercial purposes. This was part an effort to encourage investment in these activities, as well as to achieve the public interest and development goals in the country.

The new guide will be applicable to all outlets that sell LPG cylinders, including shops and cages as well as self-service vending machines. According to the regulations, the service provider is obligated to announce any change in the prices of services or products, while providing options for making the payment either electronically or through point-of-sale devices, as well as SADAD system and all other electronic payment methods.

According to the guide, the gas cylinder retail service provider is obligated to provide all approved types of cylinders. They should ensure that the cylinders are sound, clean and with a sealed valve, and to sell them according to the approved tariff, in a way that enables consumers to view the prices of other products and services.

It is also mandatory on the part of service provider to include in the self-service cylinder and cage vending machines clear instructions with regard to obtaining services and working hours in both Arabic and English. This shall be implemented within a period not exceeding six hours from the time of accepting the request.

While undertaking the cylinder delivery service, which includes loading and unloading, the service provider shall enable the customer to track the status of the order, communicate with the representative, and prepare procedures to deal with orders that could not be delivered, while providing payment options by all approved payment methods, including points of sale devices, cash, and electronic payment.

According to the guide, the service provider must abide by the procedures that regulate the issuance of invoices, collection of payments for services, and that the invoices are in accordance with the requirements of the relevant laws and regulations. The invoice shall be issued and provided to the consumer by hand or text message or e-mail.

The guide specified the timing for the provision of service by retail gas cylinder shops. According to these regulations, the shops and cages will be operational seven days a week, and the working hours will not be less than 12 hours a day, except for the vending machines that will have to operate 24 hours on a daily basis.

Regarding the procedures to deal with complaints through electronic applications pertaining to the retail gas cylinder delivery service, the guide said that the service provider must receive them, provide the appropriate channels, and handle them within a period not exceeding five working days. The service provider shall give a detailed and clear written response to the consumer about the result via a text or electronic message, and that the procedures shall be in accordance with an electronic system where all steps are to be kept and documented.

The service provider must provide the consumer with the reference number of the complaint, and inform him of the expected period for addressing the problem via a text or electronic message, and study consumer complaints every three months to focus on it, and to ensure that it does not repeat.

Regarding the wholesale service provider’s obligations to the consumer, the guide stipulated some requirements. The most notable among them is the importance of compensating the consumer for any damage to the tank, its accessories, or property caused by the service provider, and when there is a surplus balance amount of money to the consumer, it shall be refunded within seven working days or to remain it in his account.

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