Domestic bulk liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is used by almost 150,000 households in the UK, mainly in rural areas situated away from the mains gas grid, and its higher price compared to natural gas reflects in part the need to deliver LPG by tanker. It is a hazardous product, and as safety issues are of key concern, its supply is subject to a legislative regime supplemented by voluntary codes of practice and by the suppliers' own practices. The four major suppliers in the market for domestic bulk LPG are BP, Calor Gas, Flogas and Shell Gas. The Commission's report finds that there a number of features which adversely affect competition in the market, including lack of information available about switching suppliers, the inconvenience involved and lack of transparency in prices; as well as evidence of barriers to the entry and expansion of smaller suppliers to the market. The report recommends the implementation of a package of measures to remedy this situation, including in relation to the practice of uplifting and replacing gas tanks when a customer switches supplier; standardised information on the switching process; and changes to customer contracts including notice periods.
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