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Economy

Small vendors defy cooking gas cylinder exchange ban

Pavel Oimeke
Energy Petroleum and Regulatory Authority Director-General Pavel Oimeke. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Informal gas vendors in estates continue to exchange gas cylinders between brands, despite a ban being effected on the same by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA).

Under the revised Energy (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) Regulations, which came into effect in June, the regulator abolished the mandatory cylinder exchange pool that marketers blamed for opening unsafe parallel refilling channels.

The regulations say a person shall not refill an LPG cylinder without the permission of the brand owner, and the continuation of the cross-brand exchange by informal sellers shows the difficulty in regulating the practice.

Energy Petroleum and Regulatory Authority Director-General Pavel Oimeke said some crafty business owners continue to disregard the law.

“Exchange of cylinders without the approval of EPRA is illegal. We are undertaking crackdowns to ensure compliance,” he said.

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Mr Oimeke added that stiff penalties within the regulation are, however, helping to reduce the exchange of cylinders at some outlets, with a nationwide crackdown on the cards.

“However, EPRA will continue undertaking surveillance in collaboration with other agencies such as the National Police Service, the Anti-Counterfeit Agency and the Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health and Services,” he added.

Mr Oimeke blamed the lack of compliance on unawareness by LPG cylinder retailers and prolonged court process for the cases of non-compliance.

“EPRA has only received one registry for mutual pool exchange among hundreds of LPG dealers and retailers across the country,” he said.

Efforts to get a comment from the Kenya Independent Petroleum Dealers Association bore no fruit as they did not respond to our queries by press time.

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