A rule that requires lessees of propane tanks to buy gas from the lessor won't be enforced while the state attorney general seeks a declaratory judgment on the rule.
That was the decision of the state Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board, which met Tuesday to debate a controversial attorney general's opinion that said a rule restricting who consumers can buy propane gas from violates federal and state anti-trust laws.Adopted from the National Fire Protection Association standards, the rule says only owners of propane tanks can determine who fills the tanks. In Utah, 85 percent of the tanks in use are owned by propane dealers who lease them to customers. The rule, in essence, requires the lessee to buy gas from the lessor, or owner of the tank.
Assistant attorney general Art Strong told the board that the rule made sense for safety's sake when NFPA drafted it 44 years ago and tanks were not standardized.
But today, tanks are uniform and all that should be required is that the company filling the tank be certified by the state, not own the tank, he said.
Some board members and industry officials attending the hearing disagreed, saying the company with a financial investment in the tank is more inclined to take safety precautions in filling the tank than someone just selling fuel.
While the attorney general seeks a court's opinion on the rule, the board asked that the state fire marshal not enforce the rule.
The board's decision means propane tank lessees can shop for the best price until a final decision is made on the rule. But board chairman Ivan Jaques told the Deseret News that some dealers are prepared to file lawsuits against customers that break the rule.