LPG subsidy: Hassle-free, zero leakage services coming soon – via app

By: | Published: August 8, 2016 6:14 AM

The tech-savvy petroleum ministry has introduced various measures to ensure hassle-free service for consumers. Its latest initiative, the EZY GAS mobile app from Hindustan Petroleum, not only ensures delivery of refills at the right place and time, it also gives consumers the option to pay through credit/debit cards and e-wallets

The tech-savvy petroleum ministry has introduced various measures to ensure hassle-free service for consumersThe tech-savvy petroleum ministry has introduced various measures to ensure hassle-free service for consumers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a tech-lover and so is his government. Thanks to the PAHAL (direct benefit transfer) scheme for LPG subsidy, around 3.5 crore bogus connections got eliminated and the Give-It-Up campaign led to over 1 crore people surrendering the subsidy. The next strategy by the oil marketing companies would lead to zero chances of siphoning off cheap cooking gas and ensure hassle free service for consumers.

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) has launched an EZY GAS mobile application, which ensures delivery of refills at the right place and right time. Also, it offers an option to the consumer to pay for the refill using credit or debit cards and e-wallets such as PayTM, Citrus pay, FreeCharge or Mobikwik. “Currently, the application has been rolled out in 40 cities including New Delhi and Pune covering about 393 LPG agencies,” said a senior petroleum ministry official.

“The government through public sector oil marketing companies has introduced several tech-enabled measures such as mobile-based LPG cylinder booking, web-based refill tracking facility, call centre facility and mechanic service request, which have benefited consumers immensely. Going forward, the likely introduction of mobile app based services will further streamline the LPG refill process,” said K Ravichandran, senior vice president and co-head corporate sector ratings at ICRA.

How does it work: A consumer would have the choice to download the mobile app. Alternately, he can book the refill through internet or IVR over the telephone. The EZY GAS system would send the consumer a delivery authentication code (DAC), similar to commonly used one-time password (OTP) to his mobile number. The authentication code is to be provided by the consumer to the delivery boy, who would enter the code in a mobile app.

At the same time, consumers would be issued a smart card. In case, due to any reason the SMS with the authentication code does not reach the consumer, the delivery can be done by swiping the EZY GAS magnetic card as an over riding facility. Once, the delivery gets confirmed; the date, time and location (latitude and longitudes) are captured in the system, which ensures delivery at the right place and time.

“LPG is the most important fuel for domestic and commercial sectors. This covers urban, semi urban households and is now expanding into rural markets as well and covering large number of BPL families. The government has been implementing numerous innovative programmes to streamline and expand LPG usage and eliminate spurious connections. LPG continues to be subsidised and DBT has successfully directed subsidy to target consumers and helped in identifying spurious connections,” said Dilip Khanna, partner (oil and gas), EY.

Khanna feels that the online booking facilities for refill is very efficient; you get your registration number by SMS, the dealer sends an SMS when the cylinder is released and finally you get the confirmation that cylinder has been delivered at your premises. This process has also eliminated certain malpractices such as intermediate use of LPG before delivery of refill under earlier system. The government is also considering use of transparent cylinders for quantity check by consumers themselves. “Introduction of app-based refill booking and payment would further make the process more convenient for the consumers. The use of technology in LPG marketing has been innovative and a very positive step to operational and economic efficiencies,” he explained.

There are 17,543 LPG distributors in the country as on January 2016. IOC, BPCL and HPCL—aim to increase the national cooking gas coverage to 75 % with minimum 60% coverage at state level and at least one distributor in each block by 2019, said petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan. The government is estimated to have saved around R6,000 crore in 2015-16 after the introduction of DBT, considering average under recovery of around R151/cylinder and 3.34 crore fake/duplicate LPG connections weeded out, said Ravichandran of ICRA.

The option for consumers to pay for the cylinder through credit/debit cards and e-wallets would make it hassle-free not only for the buyer but also for the LPG distributors. The payments made by the consumers though these channels will get credited directly to the accounts of the distributors.

TECH IN GAS

* Oil PSUs have launched several tech initiatives which have benefited consumers immensely
*These include mobile-based LPG cylinder booking, web-based refill tracking facility, call centre facility and mechanic service request
* App-based refill booking and payment will make the process more convenient for the consumers
* EZY GAS mobile app will ensure delivery of refills at the right place and right time
* It also offers an option to the consumer to pay for the refill using credit or debit cards and e-wallets

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