The new regulations governing the supply and retail of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) have taken effect, even as consumers cry foul. This follows the closure of businesses by many LPG retailers who failed to comply with the regulations by 31st December 2019.
The regulations were passed into law in June last year. However, the Energy and Petroleum Regulation Authority (EPRA) gave the retailers six months, upto December 31st, to comply with the new regulations.
The new regulations mandate that all gas retailers should register their businesses. They should also obtain valid licences from EPRA or its licensing agents. Additionally, the licence remains valid for jetty, pipeline, bulk storage facility and liquefied petroleum gas reticulation system. This will be for a period of three years from the date of issue.
However, in the case of retail liquefied petroleum gas cylinders, the licences are valid for two years from the date of issue.
The regulations, also, demand that each business location shall be specific to the authorised cylinder brands only. According to a member of the LPG exchange board, providers will licence distributors who in turn are only limited to give permit to six dealers.
Furthermore, anyone who acts contrary to the regulations will be fined KSh10 million or more, a term of imprisonment of five years or more or risk the withdrawal of their operating licence.
Due to all these changes, Cofek had originally warned that the cost of the product will escalate, and the new laws will promote monopoly. This is because it will restrict the business to merchants such as Petrol stations.
So, with the closure of most businesses, consumers are at a loss, with limited options to choose from.