Calor Gas has confirmed that it will continue to supply 3.9kg propane and 4.5kg butane cylinders having announced it was phasing them out
Calor Gas has confirmed to Practical Boat Owner magazine that it will continue to supply 3.9kg propane and 4.5kg butane cylinders after listening to the concerns of the boating community.
Over the festive season, a message from the Calor Network Team was circulated on many boating and sailing social media sites, stating that following the recent modernisation of Calor Gas’s filling centres, it could now increase the supply of 3.9kg propane and 4.5kg butane cylinders.
This message had been sent to Calor Gas’s retail network, although no statement appeared on the firm’s website confirming its decision.
The Calor Gas Press Office has now confirmed that it is returning 3.9kg propane and 4.5kg butane cylinders back into circulation and is “working hard to return supply to normal as soon as possible”.
For the last few years, many boat owners have struggled to source 4.5kg cylinders in the UK. In 2022, Calor Gas blamed the shortage of 4.5kg and 7kg cylinders on a shortage of workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic and high seasonal demand.
In January 2023, the firm announced that from 1 February 2023, it was discontinuing its 4.5kg butane cylinders and 3.9kg propane cylinders, along with the Cube, 6Lite Propane and 12kg Butane cylinders.
This caused concerns for many in the boating community, as most gas lockers on older boats will only take the 4.5kg or smaller-sized bottles; some boat owners even discussed filling their own gas cylinder, which is both illegal and highly dangerous, according to the Boat Safety Scheme.
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As a result, Calor Gas announced in April that it would be extending the phasing out period to allow customers to source “an alternative way to power their onboard facilities”, although stressed at the time that it would still be discontinuing 4.5kg butane and 3.9kg propane cylinders from its range.
A campaign was launched by the Westerly Owners’ Association to reverse Calor Gas’s decision.
Boat owners were encouraged to take part in the association’s Calor Gas Bottle Small Cylinders Supplies survey to ascertain the scale of the problem, with over 1,000 people responding in the first 24 hours.
95% of the 2,000-plus respondents said they were unable to fit 6kg or 7kg bottles in their gas lockers, and more than 11% said they would fill their own bottles.
Commenting on the U-turn by Calor Gas, the former chairman of the association’s southern area group, Hillary Corney, who worked on the campaign, said: “It is really very welcome news that after a long campaign by the Westerly Owners’ Association, Moody Owners, Narrowboat Owners, the Cruising Association, RYA and many other owners associations and individual skippers, that Calor has finally seen sense and are to bring back the 4.5kg and 3.9kg cylinders.
“It is with significant relief that those people who were contemplating filling their own bottles, despite all the dangers that involves, will now not need to do so as this will make for safer yachting in future.
“I also hope that this change of heart by Calor will go some way to restoring faith in what was once an iconic British brand in the marine sphere.
My thanks to all those who took part in and supported the WOA Campaign, filled in the survey, wrote to Calor Gas, and the Competition and Markets Authority, and of course to PBO for their excellent articles on the Calor Gas situation and our campaign,” added Corney.
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