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Cyprus

Consumer body says continued hikes on bottled gas are a rip-off

The Cyprus Consumers’ Union & Quality of Life association slammed the continued rise in the price of a cylinder of gas saying it was not justified.

In an announcement, the association said consumers had noticed the continuous rise in price from last November until today, and it was receiving complaints daily.

“The question is why, while internationally as well as in Cyprus, the prices of all fuels have decreased significantly since last November but the price of LPG has increased month by month,” the association said.

It said that in November companies were charging customers €1.35 to €1.37/kg but by January this had risen to €1.41 to €1.42 and in February €1.50 to €1.53/kg.

The association said it had asked the companies and the commerce ministry but “unfortunately no convincing answers were given as to the reasons for the increases”.

It said the companies were apparently being allowed by the minstry to up their prices to cover the transport costs from Larnaca to Vasiliko of their warehouses and facilities.

In January this year, gas providers moved to the new VLPG consortium’s LPG terminal at Vasiliko from the Larnaca coastline. The new terminal was inaugurated by outgoing President Nicos Anastasiades.

The consumers association said if the move and different distance from the market was the reason for the continued hikes, then it was “absurd” and contrary not only to EU competition eules, but also to every rule of economics.

“It is not possible to add amounts that are considered investments to the unit price of a product,” it said.

“This of course happens in a sector of the economy that operates a monopolistic manner since the ministry itself has entered into a monopoly relationship with the companies,” it added.

” Beyond that, where is the transparency as to the total amount, the time period it will cover and if and when such charges will stop? Or will they be forgotten, as is often the case and consumers continue to pay increased costs forever?”

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