Sat | Jun 6, 2020

Motorists affected by 'bad gas' saga could get compensation in two weeks

Published:Friday | May 22, 2020 | 3:27 PM
File photo

Nadine Wilson-Harris, Staff Reporter

Several motorists who were affected during the 2015 bad gas saga are currently being contacted and given a date to visit the offices of the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC), to begin the process of collecting their share of a $24.5 million compensation payout.

Of the 381 consumers to be compensated, 287 will be getting 100 per cent of their claims.

The money was handed over to the CAC by Petrojam Ethanol Limited.

Those contacted are being asked to take along an identification card, their tax registration number (TRN), and their banking details so that payment can be made electronically.

They will also be required to sign an indemnity form that discharges the CAC and Petrojam Ethanol Limited from further claims or liabilities relating to the bad gas incident.

“Once we have all of that, very soon, within two weeks, you should be receiving your payment,” CAC chief executive officer, Dolsie Allen, disclosed  during a virtual press conference today.

“Certainly, it has been a long haul and we really want to get rid of this situation. We want to dispose of it very quickly, we want to put it behind us and to move on into other aspects of our work,” she said.

Allen made an appeal for persons to adhere to the date given so as to avoid overcrowding of the CAC’s offices.

Persons will be contacted via telephone.

“We will be calling each person who had submitted a claim and we are going to be telling you what the result of the claim was,” said Allen, who noted that 42 claims will not be honoured.

While the investigation of the complaints made by consumers in 2015 indicated that there was evidence of bad gas contamination, there has been no determination as to who was culpable.

READ: Bad gas backlash 

State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, noted that only those who had filed claims with the CAC can expect to receive compensation, although several persons had aired their grouses publicly.

“There were a number of people who were impacted, some of them did not file claims and make reports, unfortunately, now is not the time to do so; that window has passed and who we will be treating with are only those who have already made claims and submitted documentation,” he said.

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

The Petroleum Trade Reform Committee was subsequently established in 2016 to investigate the ‘bad gas’ reports and propose recommendations, several of which the Ministry has been implementing, to prevent a recurrence of this incident.

The committee's final report revealed that there was “no definitive conclusion” about a “specific contaminant” in the petrol sold to the public between November 2015 and March 2016.

In December 2015, a total of 17 gas stations were ordered closed by the Bureau of Standards Jamaica after then energy minister Phillip Paulwell publicly acknowledged complaints from scores of motorists that their vehicles had been damaged by contaminated petrol.

A fuel-quality report released at the time pointed to illegal mixing stations, rogue gas stations and conspiracies between persons at various levels of the petroleum trade.

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