- November 2, 2019
- Posted in LOCAL
THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) says modalities are being worked out to regulate LP gas prices to protect consumers from errant industry players.
Despite rising demand on the back of power cuts, LP gas is not regulated, with dealers changing prices at the drop of a hat, unlike with other energy products like fuel. LP gas is sold for between $22 and $30 per kilogramme in most parts of the country.
In an interview on the sidelines of Zera’s first consumer engagement meeting held in Bulawayo on Wednesday, Zera consumer services manager Engineer Nobert Matarutse told our bureau that the regulator had not regularised LP gas prices to allow the young industry to grow.
He said the industry had significantly expanded recently, hence it had become prudent for the energy regulator to control its prices as well.
“It’s (price regulation) work in progress. Initially, when LP gas industry started, the idea was to allow the industry to develop.
“So, we didn’t foresee regulation in particular for price to be something that we wanted to do upfront.
“We wanted the industry to grow. Now the industry has grown and that the market is bigger and bigger,” said Engineer Matarutse.
“It has become more or less a substitute for electricity and we really feel that prices should be regulated by the regulator and we are working on that. Soon we will be regulating its prices.”
He, however, said he did not have statistics offhand to explain how much LP gas was being used in the country at the moment.
While LP gas has become an important substitute power for cooking, Eng Matarutse expressed concern over unlicensed dealers whose operations are putting lives at risk.
“Consumers should desist from buying LP gas from backyard sellers, those selling under trees or homes and are not licensed.
“The issue of being your brother’s keeper is very critical.
“Don’t just turn a blind eye on your neighbour who is selling gas because if an accident happens, it’s very possible that the fire could engulf even your own property, endangering your family as well,” said Eng Matarutse.
He said their meeting with residents was meant to enlighten them about their rights and obligations as far energy issues are concerned.
During the engagements, members of the public said they lacked information on proper usage of gas and storage, which exposed them to risks.
Others complained about severe load- shedding and sought answers_The Herald