Kenya to roll out tracking system for cooking gas cylinders

The aftermath of a huge gas blast in Embakasi Nairobi last night.

Wreckage of burnt trucks and tankers a day after a gas explosion in the Embakasi area of Nairobi on February 1, 2024. PHOTO | WILFRED NYANGARESI | NMG

The State plans to roll out a tracking system for cooking gas containers in its latest move to bring to book dealers who sell faulty cylinders.

This follows the deadly gas explosion in Embakasi last Thursday that has left at least six people dead and more than 300 others injured and admitted at city hospitals.

The Energy and Interior ministries Friday evening said the tracking system will target informal dealers whose gas refilling and safety of their cylinders have been questioned over the years.

But the planned rollout has also put into question the effectiveness of the Petroleum (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) Regulations 2019 in a bid to curb illegal and unsafe dealings that expose consumers.

“In order to sustain these compliance efforts, both the Ministries of Energy and Petroleum and, Interior and Administration of National Government will immediately rollout a Government LPG growth strategy which includes development and implementation of a track and trace framework for LPG cylinders to improve traceability and accountability,” read a joint statement from the two ministries released on Friday evening.

Thursday night’s explosion occurred at an illegal refilling plant that the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) says twice rejected licence applications for the facility in 2020 and 2021.

The facility was also demolished but the owner silently made a comeback exposing residents given the proximity of the facility to residential houses.

The two ministries reiterated the application of stiff penalties on dealers refilling LPG without the consent of the brand owners, a crime that is said to persist despite the gazettement of stiff regulations to curb it.

Epra has ramped up its crackdown on illegal dealers of the commodity with the latest being eight dealers who were caught and charged for illegally refilling and selling LPG without the written consent of the brand between October and December last year.

Epra in 2019 gazetted regulations that among others introduced a minimum of Sh10 million for those found illegally refilling cooking gas and a Sh50,000 fine for dealers who do not issue customers with receipts for cooking gas sold.

Illegal possession of LPG seals without the cylinder brand owner’s authority will see those caught fork out Sh20,000 for each seal.

Uptake of cooking gas has been on the growth in recent years and coupled with State efforts to further grow its usage, highlights the need for stringent efforts to protect consumers against rogue cooking gas dealers.

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