Compensation plan for 2015 ‘bad gas’ saga to be announced today

Scores of motorists whose vehicles were affected by “bad gas” in 2015 should know today how and when they will be compensated.

The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) has called a media briefing for this morning at which time it will say how the $24.5 million it has received from Petrojam Ethanol Limited (PEL) to compensate affected motorists will be paid out.

But not every motorist who had to spend money to fix their vehicle affected by the bad gas will be compensated.

Jamaica Observer sources yesterday highlighted that only those who reported their cases to the CAC with supporting documents will be considered for compensation and even then, only motorists whose claims were authenticated by a technical committee established by the CAC will get any money.

“There are some persons who claimed that their vehicles were damaged by the bad gas who only went to the media to complain and did not submit any information to the CAC, so they will not get any money, and there are others who, when their claims were checked, it could not be confirmed that the damage was because of bad gas, so they will also not get any compensation,” said a source close to the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology.

On Wednesday, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams announced that PEL had paid over the $24.5-million to the CAC as compensation for consumers who were affected by the bad gas incident.

Williams underscored that only people who had filed claims that were approved by the CAC would be compensated and put that number at about 380 motorists.

“I hope that this pay-out will bring closure to this matter and will be seen as the Government making good on its efforts to ensure compensation for the motorists who were adversely affected,” said Williams.

“The payment of compensation is a sign of good faith by the Government for the affected motorists as neither PEL, nor the Government, is liable for the incident,” added Williams.

In 2015, motorists across the island were adversely affected when they purchased contaminated fuel at several service stations.

A Petroleum Trade Reform Committee was subsequently established in 2016 to investigate the bad gas reports and proposed recommendations, several of which Williams said her ministry has been implementing, to prevent a recurrence of the incident.

The committee also recommended the strengthening of the licensing mechanisms and penalties under the Petroleum Act and Regulations to ensure the appropriate enforcement of safety standards for the petroleum sector and the establishment of standards and regulations for liquid petroleum gas, natural gas and other forms of petroleum products to prevent a repeat of the bad gas saga.

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