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Faulty test kits cast doubt on quality of fuel

Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) director-general Pavel Oimeke. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) director-general Pavel Oimeke. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Energy regulator will replace the faulty special kits for testing the quality of fuel at the pump station as rogue traders increasingly mix kerosene with diesel in search for higher margins.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) told Parliament some dealers had reported that the kits SGS Kenya supplied could not detect petrol and diesel mixed with the cheaper kerosene because they could easily be manipulated.

“We have taken these factors into account and are in the process of getting a new contractor. In the next few months we will have technology that cannot be tampered with,” director-general Pavel Oimeke told the National Assembly Committee on Energy.

The ERC introduced the SGS kits to the market in 2015 to test quality of fuel at depots in efforts to tame rogue traders that have been mixing kerosene with diesel in search for higher profit margins.

Petrol and diesel contaminated with paraffin causes excessive engine wear, piling undue vehicle maintenance costs on motorists.

The ERC recently took action against a number of fuel stations selling petrol and diesel contaminated with paraffin at the pump.

Oil dealers reckon that nearly half of kerosene is used for adulteration of petrol and diesel due to the huge price difference.

Petrol currently retails at Sh113.73 in Nairobi, diesel sells at Sh102.74 while kerosene sells at Sh84.95.

This has seen some traders mix kerosene with diesel and petrol to enjoy higher profit margins in a market where the ERC controls price of fuel products.

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