BOTTLED gas has dropped in price again today ) for the fifth time on the trot and is now at its lowest in three years.
As at yesterday, butane gas cost €12.78 for a standard 12.5-kilo orange bottle – the lighter-weight silver bottles not being subject to State price control, meaning they are usually more expensive – but has now fallen to €12.15, the cheapest it has been since September 2016 when it sat at €11.72.
Prices are reviewed every two months, and the last five have seen it drop consistently from its near-record price of €15.33 back in November 2018, the highest price in three years.
It had not fallen below €13 since March 2017 until the previous review in July this year.
Spain’s ministry for environmental transition says the ‘dramatic fall’ in raw material price – down by just under 17% from summer – had spurred the end retail cost reductions over 2019, and the consumer price tag would have been even lower than it is now if it were not for an increase in transport costs of 7.86% and the depreciation of the euro against the US dollar of 0.59%.
Mains gas is still not widespread in Spain, only really being available in large cities and their suburbs and satellite towns – out in the wider provinces, even in densely-populated coastal areas, gas pipe infrastructure remains a rare commodity.
To this end, a high number of households still use butane gas bottles for cooking and heating.
An estimated eight million residents continue to buy the standard orange bottles, although the actual number using butane gas as a whole is likely to be higher since it is more difficult to calculate exactly how many purchase the silver bottles direct from retailers.
Orange bottles are delivered to homes and business premises on demand if the owner or occupant has a contract with a supply company, such as REPSOL – here, the cost will normally be a couple of euros higher than the standard €12.15 to cover the door-to-door service.
Customers on a contract will receive a letter every five years asking them to call the gas company to arrange a safety inspection to validate the insurance that covers them for third party damage caused by their gas installations, the result of which will usually be a replacement of rubber tubes and cost in region of €60 for the entire transaction.
Those without a contract, who buy their gas bottles from petrol stations, should arrange their own inspection with a qualified gas engineering company.
Neither REPSOL nor any other reputable company will ‘cold-call’ announcing an inspection on the door or by phone – the customer should be the one to make contact and arrange a date and time, and confirm the price before any work starts upon the contractor’s arrival.
Legitimate gas companies will not be offended if you call their office to accredit the identity of an engineer at the door – in fact, their inspectors even encourage householders to do so and will praise them for it, since this helps prevent fraud.