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File picture: An unidentified man balances a 25lb lpg tank on his bicycle handle as he rides along Koon Koon Street, Malabar, Arima.

The general managers of the only two companies who supply Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders have issued a warning to the public to use only certified regulators with their gas cylinders.

The warning came from the Trinidad & Tobago National Petroleum Marketing Company Limited and Ramco yesterday after dozens of complaints and claims of leaking gas cylinders were posted on social media.

Guardian Media reached out to several social media users who posted the complaints but they declined to elaborate further.

In an interview, NP’s general manager John Gormandy said the company has responded to several such reports only to find that faulty regulators or ‘gas heads’ were to blame. He said consumers who place blame on the seal or ‘o-ring’ attached to the cylinder have been misled.

“Our investigations so far have not turned up a problem with the o-ring but with the regulator, what consumers need to understand is that the possibility or the likelihood, that there are sub-standard regulators being imported into the country,” Gormandy said.

He said NP supplies regulators that are certified by international standards but with regulators available in most supermarkets and hardware, the public may not be aware of the type of regulator they need.

According to a public awareness campaign launched by NP on gas cylinder use, regulators should meet the following approved standards: EN 12864 or EN16129. Adjustable gas flow valves should not be used for domestic use. When regulators are properly installed, you should be able to lift the cylinder by the regulator alone.

Gormandy said one complaint that gathered significant attention on social media several months was thoroughly investigated only to find what he described as a ‘colonial-aged’ regulator was being used.

“We had one complaint about an o-ring a few months ago, I think he did a bit on social media about it, but when we did investigate the individual, the regulator he had was probably from back in the colonial days, when our colonial masters ruled- it was a very old regulator that was being used to blow this matter into the public domain,” he said.

Gormandy said LPG cylinders are regularly checked for any defects and any tanks found with defects are removed from circulation and destroyed.

He said defective seals are also routinely replaced.

He urged customers not to try to ‘fix’ their tanks and instead contact the company.

Ramco’s general manager, Lochan Samsundar agreed. He said Ramco has a 24/7 hotline for reporting issues with LPG cylinders.

“There are standards for regulators, it is just not being adhered to and many times you find if a regulator is not approved, the risk you take with these unapproved regulators is that they pinch or cut the o-ring which will cause the gas to leak as the regulator allows the transfer of gas from the tank to the hose to the stove,” Samsundar said.

He said while consumers have concerns about seals being faulty, they can try a proactive approach at the point of purchase to put their minds at ease.

“While the seal is a proof of purchase they could at the point of purchasing the gas, they could ask either the truck driver or the depot they purchase it at to be able to lift the seal to verify the o-ring is intact,” he said.