Nqobile Tshili, Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) says modalities are being worked out to regulate LP Gas prices to protect consumers.
Despite rising demand on the back of power cuts, LP Gas is not regulated with dealers charging consumers whatever prices they want unlike with other energy products like fuel. LP Gas is sold for between $22 and $30 per kilogramme in most parts of Bulawayo.
In an interview on the sidelines of Zera’s first consumer engagement meeting held in Cowdray Park suburb last week, Zera consumer services manager Engineer Nobert Matarutse told Business Chronicle that the regulator had not regularised LP Gas prices to allow the young industry to grow.
He said the industry has significantly expanded recently hence it has become prudent for the energy parastatal to control its prices as well.
“Its (price regulation) work in progress. When LP Gas Industry started, we decided to allow the industry to develop hence there was no control on its prices.
“Now the industry has grown and that the market is bigger, we are moving in to protect consumers against exorbitant prices,” said Mr Matarutse.
He, however, said he could not say 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 are not licensed. Don’t just turn a blind eye on your neighbour who is selling gas because if an accident happens it might affect you as well,” said Eng Matarutse.
He said their meeting with residents was meant to enlighten them about their rights and obligations as far as energy issues are concerned. During engagements members of the public said they lacked information on proper usage of gas and storage which exposed them to risks. — @nqotshili