On visiting (note: parking is not as easy to find here as the HDIP Khi), this was the conversation I had with the STP testing and services representative:
Me: It is good to know that you people have set up shop, because HDIP have very limited testing facilities (only 3-4 facilities for the entire country), and alone may not be able to cover the entire area and the numbers of cylinders being used over the country. Thank you for the effort, this will surely encourage more people, as even Karachi residents find it very difficult to go out of the way to the remotely located HDIP laboratories. As told before, I am an automobile enthusiast and also happen to take accident prevention seriously. You people have not been advertising it anywhere (internet, cable TV, etc.), I've searched for different terms like 'STP testing and services' or some of your phone numbers on the net but couldn't find any result. How are people supposed to know that you exist?
STP: The setup is new. We have printed brochures [hands me the brochure] and put sign boards on the main road. Also, STP = Super Technical Pakistan. Super Technical Pakistan does have a website. If you search with these terms on the internet, you will be able to find us. We will build CNG/LPG cylinder testing facilities in Karachi (already operational now), Lahore and Rawalpindi.
[Note: On the Super Technical Pakistan website, there is no mention of this new venture - cylinder testing - yet.]
Me: I've just recently noted your presence. Since when are you people sitting here?
STP: Not very long. Roughly a month or 1.5.
Me: How many cylinders have you tested since? Just want to know because any efforts to make potential customers aware of this option are not visible.
STP: Around 80.
[Note: 80 cylinders in 40-45 days w/o any market penetration feels a good number, especially when there is no government enforcement on the subject.]
Me: OK, what are the testing fees etc?
STP: Two options are available: Ordinary (PKR 550/-) and urgent (PKR 1000/-). Ordinary takes 2-3 days. Urgent means same day. Nowadays it is 3-4 hours. On days with low volume it is even lesser. If you work in this industrial area it is also possible that you drop the cylinder in the morning, attend to your job and get it fitted in the lunch time/evening. Removing and fitting of cylinder will cost you separately (PKR 300/-). This amount remains same whether you opt for ordinary or urgent.
Me: HDIP stamps the cylinders as HDIP m-yy. How does STP punch the cylinders they test?
STP: It is similar to HDIP m-yy. We stamp STP m-yy. It is a government standard format. Everyone has to follow that.
[Also showed me a sample of test certificate].
[Note: When you collect the certificate from STP, they will take a receiving along with photocopy of CNIC of car's owner and photocopy of first page of car registration book. Be prepared by taking these things along with you.]
Me: The serial number of cylinder is shown against car number (number plate). What if I shift my cylinder to another car? I've asked this from HDIP that if I transfer my cylinder to another car, would I have to write a letter to HDIP informing them to update their record, they said no.
STP: You can bring the new vehicle here and after inspection, a certificate would be issued for the new number plate for the same cylinder number.
[I don't remember whether there was a fees for this or not.]
Me: Noted that STP writes only the serial no. of cylinder, and not the brand name (e.g EKC, Inflex), whereas HDIP writes both.
STP: Our format doesn't include the brand name.
[This has a certain disadvantage: If the cylinders of a certain brand started failing testing at a high rate, there would be no record of which cylinders a not durable (=long life) and customers would not know which companies to avoid. This is of course assuming that ban on import of CNG cylinders is removed and the industry continues to flourish etc.]
Me: As you are saying that STP is government approved, why don't you frame a copy of the certificate and install it on the wall here? OGRA has been lately very active in the LPG sector, and have published entire lists of companies which are licensed to manufacture LPG kits and cylinders, and also of fuel station operators. But on visiting the website of OGRA, there is no update after the 23 Nov 2011 ad on EOI for private firms to become CNG testers. I was expecting there would be an update on OGRA website that at least one company has been awarded a license to test CNG cylinders and that the expiry date of license is 'this'.
STP: OGRA used to deal with these things. But since start 2012, these matters have shifted to Department of Explosives (which comes under Ministry of Industries). Maybe that's why you cannot find it on the OGRA website. Also, we are still in the mobilization phase so a lot of things (such as displaying the license on the wall) need to be done.
[Note: I am looking into the Department of Explosives', Ministry of Industries involvement into CNG cylinder testing. Maybe we have been missing on some news. Will update soon].
Me: I see on the brochure that CNG/LPG testing is written. As HDIP has been active on LPG lately, they have posted LPG rules on their website and according to them, LPG cylinders also need to be tested every 5 years. HDIP currently lacks the ability to test LPG cylinders (and people were at a loss as around 2017, lots of people would need to get their LPG cylinders tested and there was no commercial testing facility in the entire country to do it). Do you people have that?
STP: Yes, we are ready to test LPG cylinders too. They need to be tested every 3 years.
[Note: LPG cylinders need to be tested every 5 years, look up clause 3.3.8, page 4, LIQUEFIED PETROLEUM GAS (PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION) POLICY, 2011. This clause was not included in the superseded LPG policy 2006.]
Me: Any other thing you would like to tell?
STP: This is state of the art made in USA testing equipment, latest technology. Even HDIP does not have this technology.
Me: Thank you for your time and all the information provided. I already run a thread on Pakwheels.com on CNG cylinder testing. As when I needed to get the cylinder tested, I was not able to find any guidance from anybody. Therefore I shared my entire experience over the internet for the benefit of public. I'll post this information for the general good of the people.
Pakwheelers, currently I've no cylinder to get tested and to share the experience, like I did the HDIP experience. If any of you chance to avail the services of STP, pl post here.