A local firm, Pascal Resources Energy Inc. (PREI), is eyeing to market its innovative refillable LPG canister to rural areas around the country in a bold attempt to replace solid fuels in poor households.
The company invested an initial P500 million to create and distribute Gaz Lite, which it claimed it the first and only government safety-certified and approved LPG canister in the country.
The Gaz Lite refillable LPG canister, the firm said, is the only product of its kind in the market and in the world. This innovation allows consumers to purchase Gaz Lite canisters for use with a starter kit such as the Gaz Lite Eazy Kalan portable stove or BBQ Grill. Once consumed, Gaz Lite LPG canisters are returned to PREI facility and refilled with LPG.
Gaz Lite carries a Philippine Standard Mark from the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Philippine Standards, and an IPO Utility Model which acts similarly to a patent.
Gaz Lite LPG also went under a search art report executed by an intellectual property law firm, which concluded that the product was “novel” or different from previously patented products.
PREI said it is looking to expand its current distribution network, which is particularly strong in Visayas and Mindanao. The company currently has a facility in Lubao, Pampanga which will become fully operational by January 2020.
“We welcome those who want to invest and start with our product as long as they commit to the same vision. A regional distributor will initially invest at least P2.8 million on inventory and deposits targeting at least 500 dealers in their region,” said Nelson Par, CEO of PREI.
The Filipino-owned firm said it plans to make Gaz Lite more easily available in supermarkets, hardware stores and small groceries, neighborhood sari sari stores, complemented with sales of starter kits.
“Our plan is to significantly scale by making the product accessible nationwide through the appointment of distributor partners in various regions across the country. Our target is to achieve this by the second quarter of 2020 at the latest,” added Par.
Par said they intend to establish next year an LPG canister refilling facility in Iloilo to serve customers in the regions of the Visayas, and probably another one Mindanao.
“I’m looking at Iloilo actually and maybe in Jasaan (in Misamis Oriental) Mindanao, there is a property available there,” Par told reporters as he expressed hope to serve six million households over the next five years.
Aside from its flagship product Gaz Lite, Eazy Kalan and BBQ grill, PREI has other LPG products under development.
“We would also like to expand to other parts of Asia, especially the countries where charcoal and wood is still a popular way to cook food,” Par added.
PREI estimates that approximately 60% of families in the Philippines still cook with solid fuels such as wood and charcoal. This has many detrimental effects, from risking the health and safety of family members to environmental harm, the company said. Using Gaz Lite LPG makes for a more efficient and environment-friendly solution, it stressed.
To ensure energy accessibility for all, PREI seeks regional distributors who supply goods using multiple retail channels. The target market is comprised mainly of consumers who purchase regularly from sari-sari stores, who still use solid fuels, and find an LPG tank purchase prohibitive. Gaz Lite has found a secondary market among campers and restaurateurs who require more compact means of clean cooking.
Gaz Lite can last for about three to five days of cooking.At 330 grams, Gaz Lite canisters retail for P145 inclusive of deposit with succeeding canister refills at only P65 each.
Butane, on the other hand, typically costs P75 for a 250-gram canister. Unfortunately, many butane canisters are being illegally refilled, especially in the Visayas which has the highest incidents of accidents from illegally refilled butane canisters. These butane canisters are built for one-time use and not suitable for the pressure from fuel refills.