Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) has encouraged Liquified Petroleum (LP) Gas operators to approach the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) for stands to sell their product.
The country has been experiencing massive load shedding that lasts up to 18 hours a day, leading to residents shifting to the use of LP Gas for household use.
Speaking during a ZERA domestic consumer education and awareness outreach program on the safe use of energy in the home held in Cowdray Park, last week, an expert engineer in alternative energy Hugh Mlauzi said they has been an increase in the number of people who sell LP Gas illegally and encouraged them to get proper stands.
“ZERA encourages alternative energy but in encouraging, we have challenges. Gas started being used in 2016, but the council has its own by-laws and the by-laws were enacted in 1947 before we even thought about gas,” said Engineer Mlauzi.
“We have people who want to sell gas but BCC says in our by-laws, we do not know what that is, we only know of stands to sell, firewood and service stations, hence we cannot afford to award stands for that.”
Engineer Mlauzi said since ZERA is the authority, they have made it their mandate to ask BCC to help residents to acquire stands to sell LP gas since they are not in charge.
“BCC is in charge of awarding shops and service stations, land to construct, hence we are asking the council to help Cowdray Park residents that want gas and we want to train operators how to reduce accidents,” he said.
The engineer added that residents need to shift to using gas as it is cleaner and efficient.
“LP gas is clean and has no soot, does not mess pots and most of all it has no sulphur. This means it does not make people sick or coughing which is most common in children and women,” said Engineer Mlauzi.
He added that LP Gas cylinders should not be exposed directly to the sun as it is harmful and people should make sure that once there is a leakage, people should take necessary precautions.
“Do not keep the cylinder exposed to the sun even if you’re sure that it has nothing inside because gas does not completely run out and once it overheats it explodes,” said Engineer Mlauzi.
“The best way to deal with leakages is that once you suspect a leakage at home do not panic, just close the valve. The greatest mistake people make is wanting to see where the leakage is but once you turn on the switch and introduce flame, it is likely to spark and that would be problematic,”.
He added that there are limits to the size LP Gas cylinders that residents need to have in their houses and the use of industrial cylinders is prohibited.
“The largest LP gas cylinder to have in your house is 19kgs. Once you use an industrial cylinder that is 49kgs, you should just expect an accident that will destroy a lot of your property” said Engineer Mlauzi.