THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has warned against the mobile sale of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) saying such conduct is criminal and potentially dangerous.
Zera said LPG filling is a site-specific activity done at approved and designated facilities.
In response to written questions, Zera head of petroleum department Engineer Andrew Guri said unlicensed gas dealers risk imprisonment of up to five years or fine or both.
“In terms of Petroleum (Liquefied Petroleum Gases) Regulations, Statutory Instrument 57 of 2014, LPG wholesale and retail activities can only be conducted under Zera licence granted to companies with physical facilities approved by relevant local authorities, fire departments and EMA. Mobile filling of LPG does not meet safety requirements for licensing since this activity can be carried out anywhere including unsafe places,” said Eng Guri.
He said LPG uptake continues to increase as more people are adopting it as a primary source of energy for cooking and heating thanks to Zera safety awareness programmes on radio, TV, print and social media.
Therefore, unlicensed LPG mobile fillers pose a serious safety hazard to themselves, their customers and members of the public.
Eng Guri said unlicensed LPG dealers use unapproved equipment and can under or overfill cylinders to the disadvantage of customers.
Licensed dealers have calibrated scales, use correct filling methods and employ trained fillers.
“The illegal practice exposes consumers and property to the risk of fire considering that the dealers are unable to use correct filling methods,” he said.
He said Zera values safe use of LPG by fillers and in homes. It offers safe use training to organised groups, communities and companies to ensure zero accidents rate is maintained in the sector.
Eng Guri said Zera will continue to prosecute any unlicensed LPG fillers wherever they are and appealed to the public not to buy from illegal operators.
“In 2020, one mobile cylinder filler was convicted for operating an unlicensed LPG business from a 3 wheeled motor bike. The equipment was forfeited to the State. Zera welcomes tip offs and reports of people moving around to fill consumers’ cylinders without licences. To date, 30 LPG installers, 2 513 LPG fillers and more than 15 000 domestic users have been trained,” he said