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HomeNewsArchivesDLCA Subpoenas Texaco, Esso, Domino Records

DLCA Subpoenas Texaco, Esso, Domino Records

Oct. 25, 2008 — The Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs has issued subpoenas to gasoline suppliers Texaco, Esso and Domino, seeking detailed information about their pricing and sales of gasoline in the territory. The administration is seeking specific information from the companies in order to determine what causes and justifies the significant price difference in the cost of fuel between St. Croix and St. Thomas.
Texaco and Esso purchase fuel from Hovensa, while Domino purchases its fuel supply from Catcor Corporation in Puerto Rico.
DLCA Commissioner Kenrick Robertson said Saturday the subpoenas to Esso Virgin Islands and Texaco Caribbean sought copies of:
— all shipping invoices for fuel ordered from Hovensa and shipped to the company’s storage facilities on St. Thomas;
— all invoices showing insurance and transportation costs for fuel ordered from Hovensa;
— all invoices for regular, premium and diesel fuel purchased from Hovensa and the unit price per gallon for each grade of such fuel purchased.
DLCA also has requested information on all sales to each company’s retail customers and requested both Texaco and Esso produce copies of all current contracts with its affiliated gas stations and marinas in the Virgin Islands. The subpoena to Domino Oil requests the same information respecting fuel purchased from Catcor Coporation.
A subpoena issued to Hovensa requires the company to provide verified copies of all invoices for all grades of gasoline sold to Texaco Caribbean, Esso Virgin Islands and Jose Lima. The information must show the grade of gasoline sold, quantity sold, the price per gallon for each grade of gasoline and the date of sale. Lima is the owner of one of two independent service stations on St. Thomas whose fuel is purchased from Hovensa.
In addition, DLCA has requested from Hovensa copies of all invoices for propane sold to Antilles Gas in both districts and to St. Thomas Gas and St. Croix Gas. The invoices for propane sales must show the unit price of propane sold and the date of sale.
Robertson said the requested information was for the period Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2008, and must be submitted to DLCA by Nov. 7. In correspondence to the gas companies and Hovensa, Robertson wrote that while the prices of gasoline and other fuel products have been dropping since about July of this year, "we noticed that the retail price of gasoline and propane here in the Virgin Islands is not declining as rapidly as in other parts of the United States."
Robertson said that the requested information will permit a review and analysis by DLCA to determine whether consumers in the Virgin Islands, all of whom suffered greatly when costs for gasoline and propane were rising, are now receiving the relief that should follow from the recent decreases in prices of these products.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. this week called on all who purchase their fuel from Hovensa for resale to pass on their savings to Virgin Islands motorists. Last Wednesday, Hovensa implemented the biggest one-time reduction in the price of gasoline it sells at its truck rack on St. Croix, a 75-cent reduction in the price of regular and premium gasoline and diesel fuel. Effective Saturday, Domino Oil, which purchases its gasoline from Puerto Rico, announced a significant reduction in the cost of regular and premium gas as well as diesel fuel at its stations on St. Thomas and St. John. Regular gas was decreased by $1.06 per gallon; premium was reduced by $1.03 per gallon and diesel was reduced by 83 cents per gallon.
Commissioner Robertson also announced that DLCA will begin collecting and analyzing the information sought with the issue of the subpoenas on an ongoing basis in order to fulfill its statutory duties to protect Virgin Islands consumers.
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