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
Consumer star ratings - independent evaluations
Emphasis on safety
Convenient delivery options
Help for new users of LPG
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
Many LPG suppliers can only offer 45kg gas bottles because they don’t have the tankers required to fill larger sized cylinders, like 90kg and 210kg.
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.
Help for New Users of Home LPG
The supplier should provide detailed "How-to" instructions.
You also want answers to frequently asked questions specifically tailored for new LPG users.
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.
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.
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.
Using tools like NPS and Rant & Rave, 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.
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.
For obvious reasons it is advantageous to deal with a supplier that has a local depot in 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.
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.
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!
Competitive Pricing for You
Price is important but the fact is that there usually isn’t much difference between suppliers, as they must all stay competitive with each other.
You can always do price comparisons to confirm this.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Showerheads
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 showerheads.
A standard showerhead uses about 15 to 25 litres of water per minute, while a WELS 3 Star rated water efficient showerhead 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 efficient model 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 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, you 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 showerheads 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 showerheads help reduce the size and cost of the hot water system required.
Saving with WELS Taps
You can also save money, energy and water by using more efficient tap fixtures.
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, showerheads, 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.