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The Great Butane Fiasco 2023

PBO and Compass Magazine.

The Calorgas 4.5 debacle PBO
Trevor Martin

Incensed by the Calor Gas debacle, I invested hours and many phone calls to solve my problem. This was finally achieved by my purchasing a Flogas 4.5 cylinder just before all providers seemed to not issue any cylinders except for refills to existing customers. I guess they had run out. The third large supplier that I contacted to obtain the appropriate regulator agreed to sell me their third to last regulator. Clearly I was almost to late in the national rush to find alternative gas solutions.

I can report that the Flogas 4.5 cylinder DOES fit in the Moody 36 Mk1 gas locker! Which I am led to believe is a very rare situation. Yet again an advantage of owning a yacht that was built in yesteryear, a period before the accountants invaded boat design. My dad was an accountant and he would have agreed! But the Flogas only just fits by a very tight margin. (photo supplied). I didn’t switch the regulators as I still had gas left in my 2nd cylinder.

I contacted Calor about my now empty 1st cylinder, and they said that the cylinder had no worth to me as I wasn’t the original purchaser with a receipt to prove it as mine had come with the boat when I bought it. When asked about recycling, Flogas were not able to help and Calor said to return it to my local stockist. On presenting the cylinder to a stockist, I was surprised to find that there WAS a full cylinder which I could exchange!

Since then, I have relied on people who know people in clandestine visits under the cover of darkness and in the shadows where I pleaded to be accepted into the inner circle and thus granted exchanges of the miniscule stray stock ‘available’ in the UK. Thus circumventing the ‘No, sorry squire, we can’t get them anymore’.

My last visit to a chandlers resulted in my staring at a clutch of Calor 4.5’s and 3.9’s (what is the collective pronoun for a group of gas cylinders?), idly occupying the floor opposite the till. A ‘fresher’ member of staff, clearly oblivious to the ‘Great Butune Scandal of 2023’, declared, “yes, of course we have plenty”. A week later I read that Calor have u-turned and all will be restored. Well done the lobbyists! And a lesson to be noted about monopolies.

I now have a spare Flogas 4.5 cylinder and a sparkly new regulator collecting dust. Which I am keeping as I just don’t trust Calor not to do it again. I wonder why?

Next challenge is to sort out why refills are £40 at chandlers and £18 inland. Then to sort out the UK energy market. Or just go sailing with a nice fresh cuppa.