Comparing LPG Gas Suppliers You want to pick the best supplier for something as critical as LPG. There are a number of things to consider when you evaluate LPG gas suppliers. Local, safe and reliable should also be at the top of the list but there's more… What to Look for in an LPG Supplier In summary… Consumer star ratings - independent evaluations Emphasis on safety Reliability Competitive pricing Convenient delivery options Help for new users of LPG Convenient apps 24/7 support Online functionality Local presence No contracts policy Consumer Star Ratings As with most products and services, LPG gas suppliers receive consumer reviews. Google search is the place that most choose to post their reviews. In addition to the star rating number itself, you should also look for companies that have lots of reviews. A large number of reviews indicates more engaged customers and makes the score more reliable, as it would be difficult to post a large numbers of fake reviews. The number of reviews is the number just to the right of the stars. The other thing to watch out for are suppliers with no listing at all. They are either not really located in your area or they have chosen to avoid being reviewed by not having a listing (listings are free from Google). Delivery Options Choices Best for You Some LPG suppliers only offer cylinder exchange service. However, you should look for an LPG supplier that also offers on-site filling from LPG tankers. Tanker refills have a number of advantages for you, as the user, especially if the supplier offers automatic tanker delivery. Just think of never having to check your gas bottles or having to order. Gas Bottle Sizes to Fit Your Needs & Save on 45 kg Gas Bottle Prices Many LPG suppliers can only offer 45kg gas bottles because they don’t have the tankers required to fill larger 90kg & 210kg sized cylinders, but tanker filled 45 kg gas bottle refill price can be less than exchange 45 kg gas bottle prices. If you are a heavy user of LPG, this could force you to spend extra money on your installation, with an elaborate manifold system for multiple 45kg bottles. You should pick an LPG supplier that can give you the gas cylinder sizes you need. Help for New Users of Home LPG If you are a first time user of home LPG, you will probably need additional guidance to explain how everything works. The supplier should provide detailed "How-to" instructions. You also want answers to frequently asked questions specifically tailored for new LPG users. For example, you can get your free 9-page e-book -- The Illustrated Guide to Home LPG. It is a pictorial 'How To' explaining everything you need to know. You want a supplier that will be there for you with help when you need it. 24/7 Live Contact with Your Supplier You should be able to contact the supplier 24/7 for all of your needs. We are talking real live people at the other end of the phone line and not answering machines. And those people should be in Australia and not some overseas call centre. Make sure your supplier answers the telephone every day and around the clock. No Contracts Policy - Stay Because You Want To Some LPG suppliers try to lock you in to a 12 or 24 month contract for your home LPG. You should look for a supplier that has a No Contracts Policy. Stay because you want to, not because you have to. Actively Seek Real Customer Feedback to Improve Service A good supplier should actively seek feedback from customers to help in constantly improving their service. A good supplier will collect many thousands of bits of feedback from customers. Here are some examples, from one supplier, where customer feedback led to improvements… 1. Finding Phone Number Problem: Customers said that it was sometimes hard to find the telephone number on the web site. Solution: Supplier placed their number in much more prominent places and made it a live link, so that if you tap it on your smartphone, it will automatically enter the number for you 2. Customer Number Retention Problem: The web site wasn't remembering customer numbers long enough for some customers Solution: Supplier extended the memory period to 18 months so that it covers the usage habits of virtually all customers. 3. Forgotten Account Number Problem: Customers would forget their supplier account number, which prevented them from accessing online services, but couldn't be bothered calling. Solution: Provide for online automated account number retrieval using either email or SMS delivery. 4. New Customer Incentive Problem: Some new customers would forget to ask for the New Customer Incentive Solution: All online signups now have the Welcome Package applied automatically. 5. New Customer First Delivery Problem: Previously, supplier needed to contact new customers to complete the online signup process. If supplier had difficulty contacting them, it could delay the first delivery Solution: Supplier completely automated the signup process. Now, if all of the required information has been provided, the account is created and the first order entered into the system right away. NO points for guessing which supplier this is. LPG User Support and Engagement You need to be able to communicate with and get information from your LPG supplier. They should supply LPG "How To” advice for all aspects of your LPG use, from gas bottle operating instructions to advice on gas appliances, as well as information on technical issues. An active and informative Facebook page is also valuable, as you can interact with other LPG users, as well as the LPG supplier. Look for a comprehensive web site, with answers to more than just the simple questions. Delivery Capacity for Reliable Supply It’s pretty basic logic that the more delivery vehicles and drivers in the supplier's fleet, the more reliable the service. The trucks also need to be large enough to make the required volume of deliveries, not just little utes. This is especially true during the peak winter season. It’s hard to be everywhere every day, but it’s even harder if you don’t have enough delivery trucks and capacity. Make sure your supplier has a large delivery fleet of both cylinder exchange trucks and LPG tankers. Your Supplier Should Have a Residential Focus You want an LPG supplier that is focussed on your needs. For example, as industrial gas suppliers primarily deal with businesses, they can only be contacted during business hours. Look for an LPG supplier that specialises in the needs of homeowners. Local Presence For obvious reasons it is advantageous to deal with a supplier that has a local depot in your area. Look for a large LPG supplier that has a local company agent or branch run by local people from your area. You want all of the large supplier advantages combined with friendly local service and knowledge. Mobile App and Compatibility You should look for a supplier that can supply the tools you need for your lifestyle. They should have a smartphone App available for your iPhone, iPad or Android device that let's you manage your LPG from anywhere at any time. The entire web site should also be mobile compatible so you can easily access the information you need. Managing your LPG should be easy! Help When Natural Disasters Happen One of the advantages of a large national supplier is in the event of natural disasters, like floods or bushfires. The larger companies have resources, from other areas, which they can mobilise and bring to the affected areas. This is particularly important if the LPG depot itself is affected by the disaster, as recently happened during the flood in Bundaberg. Small local suppliers simply don’t have that kind of backup capability. I even know of a large Australian LPG supplier that organised a helicopter delivery of LPG to a small town cut off by a landslide. No points for guessing who that was! Upstream LPG Supply & Reliability Your LPG supplier should have more than just local storage capacity. They should have upstream supply, storage and transport facilities to provide Surety of Supply. This is important if there is a supply interruption, as happened in SA a few years ago. The large SA regional producer of LPG, on which all of the LPG suppliers depended, had a major quality problem and could not supply LPG for weeks. One national LPG supplier mobilised a fleet of tankers and kept their SA customers supplied from their major storage facility in Victoria. No points for guessing this one either! 45 kg Gas Bottle Refill Price 45 kg gas bottle price is based on either 45 kg gas bottle refill price or automatic tanker refill. The 45 kg gas bottle refill price is based on per bottle prices. The pricing for tanker refill of 45 kg gas bottles is based on a per litre prices. Pricing can vary based on location, as a result of transportation costs. LPG home gas bottle prices are important but the fact is that there usually isn’t much difference between suppliers, when it comes to home gas bottle prices, as they must all stay competitive with each other. You can always do price comparisons to confirm home gas bottle prices. All LPG suppliers are subject to a world LPG benchmark price, known as the “Saudi CP”. This benchmark varies on a monthly basis and is the primary determining factor in how much the LPG suppliers pays for the LPG they supply to you. Pricing can vary a bit based on a number of factors including the cost of supply, haulage and delivery to different areas. You should expect competitive pricing. Uncompromising Safety Once again, the larger suppliers have an advantage over smaller suppliers in LPG safety. Large LPG suppliers can justify full time safety staff like National Safety Managers, National Training Managers and Technical Compliance Managers, to make sure that safety is the priority. In addition, your LPG supplier should have an Emergency Help Line that is manned 24/7/365. Your safety should not be negotiable. Online Capability for Your Convenience As with all modern product and service suppliers, you should expect to have full online access and interaction with your LPG supplier. You should be able to order online and receive a real-time confirmation number, not just an automated email. Online credit card payments should be through a secure server and you should be able to access all of your account details whenever you need them. Telephone keypad ordering and SMS (Text) LPG orders are also handy. Only One Suppliers Ticks All of the Boxes There is only one LPG company in Australia that ticks all of these boxes. I think you've probably already figured out which LPG supplier that is. BONUS TIPS! You can Save Money, Water & Energy With very little effort or investment you could be saving money on hot water running costs, water usage & the cost of a replacement hot water system. So, how do you do it? Get Water Efficiency The use of WELS showerheads and taps is the answer. WELS is Australia’s Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards scheme. The scheme helps consumers make informed decisions, when buying water-using products, to help them save water and money. Saving Water with WELS Water Saving Shower Head Showers use the most hot water in a home, so the quickest way to save water in your home is to switch to water efficient water saving shower head . A standard showerhead uses about 15 to 25 litres of water per minute, while a WELS 3 Star rated water efficient water saving shower head uses a maximum of 9L/min and as little as 6 or 7L/min. So, assuming an 8 minute shower, a standard showerhead uses 120 to 200 litres of water whereas a water saving shower head uses between 48 and 72 litres, or 40 to 75% per cent less water. Your family’s annual water savings can be as much as 44,000 to 63,000 litres*. Saving Energy and Money with WELS Showerheads People generally shower for 5 to 10 minutes. Assuming you have a 3 Star water saving shower head and you mix in some cold water with the hot, the typical hot water consumption would probably be in the 7L/min range. If you also assume an 8 minute shower, water saving shower head will consume about 56 litres of hot water per shower or a family of four would consume 224 litres versus. That same family would use as much as 640 litres of hot water with a standard showerhead, assuming 20L/min consumption. The use of WELS 3 star rated water saving shower head is an important factor in saving energy, as hot water typically accounts for about 25% of the average home energy costs. Your actual savings depend on the type, size and energy efficiency rating of the hot water system you currently own. You can also save money on the purchase price of a new hot water system, as the WELS water saving shower head help reduce the size and cost of the hot water system required. If you also choose a 5 Star or better hot water systems, you will further minimise your hot water energy costs Please see Saving Money on Hot Water System Sizing Saving with WELS Taps You can also save money, energy and water by using more efficient tap fixtures, as well as water saving shower head. Before purchasing a new tap, check the WELS star rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient the model. Your family's annual water savings could be as much as 25,000 to 35,000 litres. The range is based on a comparison between 0 Star (16L/min), 3 Star (8.25L/min), 4 Star (6.75L/min) and 5 Star (5.25L/min) kitchen or bathroom taps. Once again, you can save energy and money, too. Annual energy savings can be up to $297 per year*. To save even more, make sure you fix all leaks and avoid unnecessarily running taps when washing, shaving or brushing your teeth. More About WELS This joint government and industry program is designed to help consumers compare water efficiency when buying water-using products. Products covered under the scheme include clothes washing machines, dishwashers, water saving shower head, toilets, urinals and taps, with flow controllers optional. WELS products are rated and labelled according the requirements of the Australian Standard AS/NZS6400:2005 - Water Efficient Products Rating & Labelling. For more information on the WELS scheme and to view the full list of water rated products, go to www.waterrating.gov.au Some state governments, local councils and water utilities offer rebates or other incentives for water efficient products. To find out more, visit www.smartwatermark.org *SOURCE: Australian Government WELS Scheme See Welcome Package for details.