Thu | Apr 18, 2019

Editors' Forum | 'GOOD GAS!' - BSJ confident that its monitoring will ensure motorists get quality and val

Published:Sunday | December 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue
Members of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) team at a recent Gleaner Editors’ Forum, (from left) Richard Lawrence, director, Engineering Division; Karen Watson-Brown, manager, Standards Development; Stephen Wedderburn, executive director; Orine Henry, director, National Compliance and Regulation Authority (NCRA); Wendell Richards, head of Standards and Compliance at NCRA; and Garfield Dixon, marketing and public relations manager, BSJ.
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Three years after scores of Jamaica motorists were impacted by bad gas sold at some stations, the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) is expressing confidence that the measures instituted since then will make a repeat highly unlikely.

The BSJ is also confident that its testing programmes are ensuring that motorists get what they pay for when they go to the pumps.

Addressing a Gleaner Editors' Forum recently, BSJ officials declared that even when its seal of approval is not attached to the pumps motorists do not have to be afraid of being short-changed.

According to the BSJ officials, the absence of the seal is not evidence that the pumps have not been vetted and given an all-clear.

"That is a voluntary programme, but we have a monitoring programme where we verify all the gas pumps, and this does not necessarily come with the sticker. Even though some of the stickers would have expired ... it does not mean that the pumps have not been checked," said Orine Henry, head of the National Compliance and Regulation Authority (NCRA), which has been formed out of the regulatory division of the BSJ.

"We, by law, are mandated to ensure that the pumps are functioning," added Henry, as she indicated that the checking of the pumps is done on a phased basis.

"So sometimes you will see pumps with expired stickers, but it does not mean that the pumps are malfunctioning because we also have a programme in place to make sure that the pumps are verified on a regular basis," Henry told the forum.

She said all gas station pumps are tested twice per year randomly, with only a small number not meeting the required standard. Those which are detected to be malfunctioning are labelled 'rejected' and pulled out of service.

"A lot of the gas station operators and marketing companies, once they know that the pump has malfunctioned, they are going to call the technicians immediately, because they don't want that rejected sticker to stay on the pump for any length of time," said Henry.

In the wake of the 'bad gas saga', a Petroleum Inspectorate was established in the BSJ and executive director of the agency, Stephen Wedderburn, told the forum that this is working well.

"All shipments of gas that are imported are scrutinised, and Petrojam's quality is also scrutinised. So far we are doing it at the macro level but we will move down the chain and become more localised," said Wedderburn.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com