The Sunday News
Thandeka Matebesi, Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) will soon introduce a pricing model to guide Liquefied Petroleum (LP) Gas dealers as part of its efforts to formalise and discourage the indiscriminate sale of the flammable fuel.
Zera acting chief executive officer Mr Eddington Mazambani said the energy regulatory body has over the past few years been focusing much attention on ensuring enhanced standards and quality in the service provision by LP Gas than regulating its pricing.
“The prices of fuels are reviewed on a weekly basis depending on the changes in international crude oil prices. Once the prices of crude oil change, Zera has to adjust local prices to ensure that prices are reflective of current international prices. With respect to LP Gas the focus has been on setting standards and systems for safe use and quality of the products and efforts are underway to come up with a price regulation system once foreign currency allocation measures have been put in place,” said Mr Mazambani.
Zera is on record having said there is 100 percent licence compliance by LP Gas wholesalers in the country, although the retailers are still problematic.
However, the gas merchants play a critical role in the supply chain of the gas, which is mainly used for domestic consumption.
There has been a rapid growth in LP Gas usage in the country as its use became popular as an alternative energy source especially for domestic consumption when the country struggled with hydro-electricity deficits experienced in the past decade.
Meanwhile, Zera has concluded a study of identifying electricity cost cutting measures as well as improving efficiency.
“The review of tariffs is an ongoing process until a point that the tariffs are considered fully cost reflective. Even at that point, continuous reviews are done depending on what the new costs are. Zera has already concluded a study that was identifying areas of potential cost cutting and efficiency improvements. These findings will be used in future reviews,” Mr Mazambani said.
He also said Zera was monitoring fuel supplies and provision at all the country’s service stations.
This comes after revelations that some fuel service stations were deliberately hoarding and limiting supplies to consumers for speculative purposes thereby creating artificial shortages that have resulted in continued long queues for petrol and diesel.
“Zera continues to monitor activities of the petroleum sector operators to ensure that fuels are disposed in a proper manner.
Any operators found promoting illegal activities will be taken through prosecution as provided for in the law,” said Mr Mazambani.