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Cooking gas use rises nearly one-third on sustained logging ban

cooking gas at a Total petrol station
A customer buys cooking gas at a Total petrol station. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The logging moratorium is fuelling cooking gas uptake, generating a demand-driven enterprise across Kenya that saw 234,400 tonnes of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) imported in the first nine months of 2019.

This was 27.5 percent or 50,601 tonnes more cooking gas imported to meet Kenya’s need for affordable and clean cooking fuel solution, where the government targets an annual LPG consumption of 10kg to 15kg per person. This is as opposed to the current two kilogramme per capita.

Balance of payments statistics indicate 2019 third quarter witnessed the highest importation at 95,289 tonnes that was worth Sh4.6 billion. This compared to a similar period in 2018 when 70,573 tonnes worth Sh4.6 billion, over 50 per cent higher than 2017’s import bill of Sh2.9 billion of 51,735 tonnes.

The logging ban, now in its third year has diminished supply of sawdust, firewood and charcoal to most households pushing many to turn to other sources of fuels, chiefly LPG, ethanol fuel and electricity for the high income earners.

The sector has witnessed adulteration complaints with LPG brand-owners lamenting loss of market share to underground dealers who illegally refill branded cylinders passing off the same as genuine products.

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Last week, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) established the Directorate of Enforcement and Consumer Protection with offices in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nyeri and Eldoret towns to implement the newly-operationalised regulations.

The rules seek to empower brand owners in controlling branded cylinders trade.

The unit will be on the lookout for illegal gas refilling dens, monitor transportation of filled and empty cylinders as well as conduct impromptu raids on LPG retail outlets to ascertain that only genuinely filled LPG cylinders are on sale.

The moratorium remains in force until November, 2020.

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