Counties

Nakuru trader fails to overturn closure of gas plant

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Summary

  • The High Court has declined a request by a Nakuru-based trader to order the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authourity (Epra) to reopen his Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) refilling plant located in Industrial area Nakuru county.
  • The owner of the plant, Smart Gas Energy Limited through its director Stephen Mwangi Kang'ethe, wanted the court to order Epra to remove all seals it placed on the said plant on March 25, 2021.
  • It also wanted the authourity to be prohibited from closing the plant again or interfering with its operations.

The High Court has declined a request by a Nakuru-based trader to order the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) to reopen his Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) refilling plant located in Industrial area Nakuru county.

The owner of the plant, Smart Gas Energy Limited through its director Stephen Mwangi Kang'ethe, wanted the court to order Epra to remove all seals it placed on the said plant on March 25, 2021. It also wanted the authority to be prohibited from closing the plant again or interfering with its operations.

But Justice Joel Ngugi declined the request after Epra opposed the application saying the court does not have the powers to deal with the dispute. The authority saidMr Kang’ethe should have filed the grievances at the Energy and Petroleum Tribunal before moving to court.

"This plainly raises the question whether the Doctrine of Exhaustion would have required the Applicant (Smart Gas Energy Ltd) to first seek recourse at the Energy Tribunal," said the judge.

Additionally, the court noted that the factory's director and one other person were charged at a Nakuru magistrate court on March 22, this year with two offences related to alleged unauthorised refilling of liquefied petroleum gas cylinders without brand owners’ consent.

They were also charged with being in possession of seals and wraps bearing similar markings to another brand owner without written consent of the brand owner.

"This is a material fact which they did not disclose to the Court in Mr Kang’ethe’s affidavit or in any subsequent court filings. This is a relevant factor in making a determination whether an equitable remedy is merited," said the judge while declining to suspend decision of EPRA.

The judge directed the firm to file and serve the Authority with the court papers and fixed the matter for mention on June 3, 2021 for directions on hearing.

While urging court to suspend the Authority decision, Mr Mwangisaid the gas refilling plant employs about 100 people.