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Daily fuel price revision: IOC steps up effort to placate petrol pump dealers

LiveMint logoLiveMint 14-06-2017 PTI

New Delhi: As more petrol pump dealers decided to strike on 16 June, Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) on Wednesday stepped up efforts to explain implementation of the daily revision in petrol and diesel prices.

Daily price revision, which follows successful pilot in five cities, is to be implemented from 16 June, from when even the smallest change in international oil prices can be passed down to consumers.

IOC chairman Sanjiv Singh, who on Tuesday held extended parleys with petrol pump dealers from several states, said nothing is being done to the detriment of petrol pump operators. “Whatever they were doing at 15-day frequency, they will be required to do daily. That is the only change,” he told PTI here.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Petrol Dealers Association decided to join the call given by the Federation of All India Petroleum Traders (FAIPT) for ‘no-purchase-no-sale’ day on 16 June, saying the state-owned fuel retailers have “jumped into” the decision without checking the ground reality about automation system of pump.

“Unless the price is pushed automatically through the automation system, the petrol dealers are not ready to do it manually or fetch the price on a daily basis as being advised by the oil marketing companies. This manual intervention can lead to errors and delays in operation of the petrol pump,” the association said.

Singh, however, said about 10,000 out of IOC’s 26,000 petrol pumps across the country are already automated, where prices can be changed remotely, and the remaining will be automated by 2018.

“We are not saying that all petrol pumps have to change the price determined at midnight every day. All we are saying is that before you start your business, the price has to be adjusted. And that can be at 7am in the morning,” he said. He said currently petrol pumps change rates according to the price decided by the oil companies on the fortnightly basis. This now has to be done on a daily basis. “They have apprehensions of inventory losses in case prices drop but we do not anticipate international rates to go down steeply. In fact they have been stable and this is the right time to implement such a move,” he said.

The association, however, said a stringent fine of Rs5 lakh and suspension of sales and supplies for 60 days are provisioned for manually altering rates at petrol pumps but in reality not even half of pumps are automated.

IOC, the nation’s largest fuel retailer, said it will provide information on daily price revisions through various means, including LED screens at petrol pumps, toll-free number, social media posts, mobile apps as well as through SMS.

Singh, along with IOC director (marketing) B.S. Canth, explained daily price change with retail outlet dealers of 11 states—Rajasthan, Punjab, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal and Bihar. “The fear of dealers about inventory loss is unwarranted as the change of prices will happen both upwards as well as downwards, and thus both gain and loss would compensate each other,” he said.

The pilot was successful in the five cities where the price change has been implemented smoothly. Although daily price revision is effective from midnight, thanks to the advent of technology, the dealer is not required to be present at the retail outlet every day to change the price after 00.00 hrs at midnight, IOC said in a separate statement.

In case of automated retail outlets (ROs), there is a provision for dealers to schedule the price change at 20.00 hrs for price change to take effect at 00.00 hrs. In case of non- automated ROs, manual change of price has to be done.

“Retail outlets operating during the night have already employed manpower. No additional manpower is thus required for the change of price. Changing of retail selling prices in the dispensing units (DUs) consumes very less time. Moreover, as the same is effective at 00.00 hrs midnight when the rush of customers is minimum, inconvenience caused to customers will also be minimised,” the IOC statement added.

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