Omtatah sues energy agency over new cooking gas rules

Economy

Omtatah sues energy agency over new cooking gas rules

Activist Okiya Omtatah. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

An activist has sued the energy regulator for publishing new guidelines that have brought to an end the exchange of empty cooking gas cylinders among different brands.

Activist Okiya Omtatah claimed it was wrong to punish consumers and other stakeholders in the name of reining in rogue independent cooking gas marketers.

“The new regulations add no value to the regulation of the LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) sector. All they do is to tighten the screw on consumers by violating their rights to property,” said Mr Omtatah.

The revised Energy (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) Regulations of 2009 abolished the mandatory cylinder exchange pool that marketers blame for opening unsafe refilling outlets.

Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) said consumers would choose to retain the current cylinder or return them to brand owners in exchange of deposit cash to buy alternative ones.

Mr Omtatah claimed that there are less restrictive means to achieve the purpose of reining in illegal and unsafe refilling of LPG cylinders besides abolishing the exchange pool.

“Ideally, the consumer should be at liberty to have his/her gas cylinder refilled by any qualified and licensed refiller irrespective of the brand. This is more so because the gas in the cylinders is not itself branded,” he said.

The court battle pits the activist against the Energy Cabinet Secretary, the EPRA and the Attorney-General.

Following the publication of the disputed regulations, Kenyans will now not exchange empty cylinders for refilled ones of different brands at their local dealers.

Mr Omtatah argued that the new rules favour multinationals at the expense of local independent refillers.

“Unless this matter is heard and determined, the people of Kenya will suffer great loss,” the activist said.

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