The Electricity and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) has recovered 26,000 in the past three years, in a nationwide clampdown on illegal LPG refilling plants. According to the regulator, compliant brand owners lose about Ksh 1.2 billion annually to illegal facilities.

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

The crackdown was conducted between June 2023 and June 2024 by a multi-agency team led by the Electricity and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, and Eldoret. A total of 32 LPG refill facilities were closed down as a result, with some having their LPG license suspended.

According to Daniel Kiptoo, Director General at EPRA said the impounded cylinders will be returned to brand owners to help increase the quantity of genuinely refilled LPG cylinders in the market. So far, the first batch of 6,000 LPG cylinders has been returned to their legitimate brand owners.

The decision comes days after a multi-agency team comprising EPRA officials 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 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 licences revoked.

According to the LPG regulations of 2009, it is prohibited to refill, rebrand, deface, or submit LPG cylinders belonging to another brand for maintenance. Similarly, every LPG refill business must possess their own registered brand of at least 5,000 LPG cylinders or possess a written agreement allowing them to conduct refill business using the branded LPG cylinders from registered brand owners.

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