Energy regulator admits inability to tame illegal fuel business

Mr Ng’ang’a termed the problem ‘too extensive’ and called for increased collaboration for surveillance.

Thursday March 3 2016

Ladies look on as two men siphon fuel from a tanker parked at Bayete on the Eldoret-Nakuru Highway on January 21, 2016. The practice is common on centres along the route and the fuel is sold to motorists at a price lower than the pump price. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Ladies look on as two men siphon fuel from a tanker parked at Bayete on the Eldoret-Nakuru Highway on January 21, 2016. The practice is common on centres along the route and the fuel is sold to motorists at a price lower than the pump price. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has admitted its inability to tame illegal fuel siphoning business in the country.

The commission expressed its frustration as it emerged that a fuel depot in Nakuru’s Industrial area that was razed down in a huge fire last week had been operating illegally for the last six years.

ERC Director General Eng Joe Nganga who visited the facility on Thursday, confirmed that the depot had been siphoning bulk petroleum from road tankers, undetected. He said the commission has since taken drastic measures.

"We dispatched a technical team which established the depot was illegal and hence closed indefinitely,” he said in Nakuru during an ERC sensitisation workshop for petroleum, renewable and electricity sub sectors.

The ERC boss called for collaboration between security personnel, county government, stakeholders and members of the public to fight the vice.

“To foster safety of tankers transporting fuel on the highways, ERC has forged partnership with National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) and the Kenya National Highways Authority to ensure regulation and licensing of bulk petroleum tankers,” he said.

Mr Ng’ang’a termed the problem ‘too extensive’ and called for increased collaboration for surveillance.

According to the ERC boss, there is increased competition of illegal fuel practices including diversion of petroleum products meant for export into domestic market and also adulteration of motor fuels with domestic kerosene.

"The challenge is too expensive for the commission to handle it alone hence other government agencies and stakeholders will be our partners,” he said.

To fight adulteration of petroleum products, the ERC boss called upon the government to consider increasing kerosene prices citing it has been used because it was cheap.

“If kerosene use will be reduced considerably in the country, we can increase its prices to avoid the illegal activities in the country especially adulteration,” he said.

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