EPRA steps up clampdown on illegal LPG trade

Illegal refilling plants cost compliant businesses more than Sh1bn in losses.

In Summary

•Offending businesses to suffer losses as LPG refill equipment and LPG cylinders are seized.

•Impounded LPG cylinders to be returned to brand owners.

Cooking gas cylinders.
Cooking gas cylinders.
Image: FILE

A nationwide clampdown on illegal LPG refilling plants has seen the shutting of 32 refilling facilities and the recovery of 26,000 cylinders in the past three years.

This comes as compliant brand owners blame illegal activities for losses of Sh1.2 billion annually.

The losses stem from the inability of licensed brand owners to benefit from their investments in manufacturing cylinders, marketing their brands through advertisements and loss of business, as LPG cylinders released to the market are hardly returned for refilling.

The operation conducted between June 2023 and June 2024, by a multi-agency team led by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority(EPRA) in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, and Eldoret, saw 32 LPG refill facilities shut with some having their LPG license suspended.

EPRA Director General Daniel Kiptoo said the impounded cylinders will be returned to brand owners to help increase the quantity of genuinely refilled LPG cylinders in the market.

The first batch of 6,000 LPG cylinders has been returned to brand owners.

The decision comes days after a multi-agency team comprising EPRA staff, and other government regulatory and enforcement agencies raided a home at Utidhini Area in Machakos county, where an illegal refilling plant was closed down.

The multi-agency team impounded an LPG tanker, LPG refill equipment and an unassorted number of empty LPG cylinders lined up for refilling. 

The raid also seized a mini-lorry loaded with refilled LPG cylinders ready for distribution to the market.

Four people found at the premises have been arraigned before the court to answer criminal charges of operating an illegal LPG cylinder refill plant.

EPRA warned that any offending facility will see their LPG refill equipment impounded and LPG refill licenses revoked.

According to the energy (liquefied petroleum gas) regulations, 2009, it is prohibited to refill, rebrand, deface, or submit LPG cylinders belonging to another brand for maintenance.

Every LPG refill business must possess its own registered brand of at least 5,000 LPG cylinders, or possess a written agreement allowing it to conduct refill business using the branded LPG cylinders from registered brand owners.

EPRA’s latest Biannual Statistics  Report shows tax waivers on LPG has fuelled LPG consumption by eight per cent to stand at 360,594 metric tonnes.

The use of LPG is set for triple-fold growth as the government implements the LPG Reticulation Project, which aims to install LPG reticulation kits in 5,000 public schools by the end of the year.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star