The energy sector regulator has extended the deadline for complying with the tough cooking gas rules by three months, providing a reprieve to retailers.
The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) director-general Pavel Oimeke said the extension to March 31 will enable retailers to register under the rules that also require them to issue receipts to buyers.
So far, only 2,000 out of 10,000 LPG retailers have acquired licences across the country in what the regulator links to hurdles in the application process. The stringent cooking gas rules were supposed to take effect on January 1.
“Accordingly, and in consideration of the hurdles experienced by the retailers in obtaining the critical documents required for application for the aforementioned licences such as the fire compliance certificate and the single business permit, Epra has granted the request to extend the time period for compliance up to March 31, 2020,” said Mr Oimeke in a letter dated January 16, 2020.
The Petroleum Act 2019 requires all LPG retailers, wholesalers and transporters to hold licences for each business location following the abolishing of the compulsory LPG cylinder exchange pool.
The licences are specific to the authorised cylinder brands and retailers are supposed to obtain prior written consent from brand owners.
Under the rules, selling of cooking gas without a receipt attracts a fine of Sh50,000 while the penalty for illegal gas refilling was to increase more than tenfold to a minimum of Sh10 million.
Yesterday, Mr Oimeke maintained the rules still stand. “But we have given retailers up to March to register."
He wants the retailers to only stock and offer for sale cylinder brands for which they have a written approval from brand owners “as stipulated by the Petroleum Regulations of 2019.”
Kepher Odongo, general secretary of Energy Dealers Association (EDA), a lobby which controls about 55 percent of the retail market, said the extension would restore sanity.
“There is a new development in the LPG circle after Epra extended the transition period for retailers for another three months following our appeal to the agency,” said Mr Odongo.
He appealed to the LPG traders to get documents from government agencies to fast track licensing.
Earlier this month, the dealers appealed for a six-month extension of the rules.
The implementation of the Legal Notice No 100 of 2019, which was to initially take effect on June 25 last year before a three-month extension was granted by Epra has proved to be a bone of contention between the two entities.
The new law requires LPG retailers, wholesalers and transporters to hold licences for each business location following the removal of the compulsory LPG cylinder exchange pool.