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ERC targets fuel carriers with new transport rules

Friday, May 3, 2013 - 00:00 -- BY WINFRED KAGWE

The Energy Regulatory Commission plans to introduce new regulations that will require anyone transporting petrol, diesel and kerosene to have a license.

The new requirements will also make it mandatory for the drivers employed on such fuel trucks to be registered after passing certain qualification.

ERC director general Kaburu Mwirichia said yesterday the rules are in the final preparation stages and will come to effect soon."We are tightening the regulation on the transportation of liquid fuels. Up to now, we have not been licensing the transporters," he said.

The regulator said it initially started with regulating liquefied petroleum gas, saying it is is more dangerous than the liquids.

There have been several incidences of fires caused by leakage on the roads involving both gas and petrol putting other road users in danger.

ERC said it is also tightening monitoring of illegal fuel sales which do not comply with safety standards, deny Kenya Revenue Authority tax money and unfairly compete with the duly licensed dealers. He also warned dealers selling adulterated fuel and others meant for export.

There are about 841 retail outlets country wide. Earlier this year, ERC blacklisted up to 27 of them for either selling contaminated fuel or selling petroleum products already marked for export to neighboring countries.

"We have been carrying periodic random checks and sampling on fuel stations and have blacklisted those caught in the act. Some of this fuel is stolen from export trucks," Kaburu said.

Last week, the Petroleum Institute of East Africa announced it is working with ERC to commission another independent agency to monitor LPG business which has been marred with black-market activities like illegal refilling plants, use of deceitful gas measurements, sale and use of substandard gas cylinders and dangerous transportation of gas.

He spoke on the sidelines of a workshop bringing together licensed fuel dealers and petrol stations operators to sensitise them on the new regulations.

The regulator is targeting is to increase level of compliance in the sector.Kenya Independent Petroleum Dealers Association chairman V.M Kariuki said the dealers are ready to abide by the new regulation but must be given enough time to comply.

The association, which was initially opposed to price caps introduced by ERC in 2010, said it no longer has issues with the price controls.ERC announces the maximum fuel price every 14th of the month.

Kaburu said most fuel retailers have been complying with the set maximum prices.