Posted on 1st Jan 1970 01:00:00 in
The Government has ruled out the possibility of reverting to old gas cylinders that tied consumers to one supplier of cooking gas.
Instead, the energy industry regulator wants the sector players to find innovative modalities of enhancing the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Cylinder Exchange Pool to deal with illegal refilling of gas cylinders.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said the universal valve has had a major impact on easing access of LPG for consumers. It also contributed to the increase in use of cooking gas which is a cleaner alternative to charcoal and kerosene.
ERC Acting Director General Pavel Oimeke said reverting to the old model where each marketer had a unique valve would erode the gains that have been made over the eight years that the unified valve has been in place. “We are very clear that that the universal valve is here to stay,” Mr Oimeke said.
“The inconvenience that Kenyans would experience in terms of getting different valves for various brands of gas is not sustainable for consumers. Previously, people could not change brands but this has been resolved and Kenyans can go to any marketer and buy cooking gas. The valve will remain... we have no intentions of changing that.”
Last year, the Ministry of Energy formed a committee to review the LPG Regulations of 2009 that heralded the era of the unified valve, enabling consumers buy gas from any marketer or retailer irrespective of the brand. Among the recommendations that oil and gas marketing companies are expected to make to the committee include doing away with the unified valve.
The marketers have in the past argued that the valve has led to the proliferation of illegal gas refilling outlets. This was an unintended development. See Also: Kenya ban on Tanzanian gas still on
Unlike previously where consumers were tied to one brand and cylinders could only be accessed from dealers such as petrol stations that were in control of marketers, the liberalised environment brought about more retailers. Unfortunately these retailers cannot guarantee that cylinders are safe.
Oimeke said there are other ways that the industry could clamp down on illegal trade without interfering with the valve.
These include looking for innovative ways to make the LPG Gas Cylinder Exchange Pool work better. Through the exchange pool, LPG marketers receive gas cylinders from consumers irrespective of the brand and hand them over to the brand owners.
“We are looking at ways of making the exchange pool more efficient. If the industry comes up with innovative ways of making the pool work better, we are keen to listen to alternatives to the current system if it makes sense and protects consumers,” said Oimeke.
“My concern is that we should not inconvenience Kenyans and we should also not suppress growth of the LPG industry but should be looking at innovative ways to dispense gas that are safe and efficient.”