Locals migrate to liquid petroleum gas as load shedding bites

Ray Bande – Senior Reporter

The use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in Zimbabwe is expected to hit 50 million kilograms mark per year as electricity power outages worsen, Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) official has said.

Not so long ago, the use of LPG in the country was in its infancy as citizens were mainly skeptical about the safety of LPG usage, especially in homes.

But persisting electricity load shedding left the Zimbabwean populace finding alternative energy sources.

In an interview on the sidelines of a ZERA consumer education and awareness outreach programme in Chikanga high density surburb in Mutare today, the nation’s power regulators’ Customer Services Manager Engineer Nobert Matarutse confirmed that they are expecting the gas consumption levels to be not less than 50 million kgs per year.

“Judging by the historical information at hand whereby we consumed 38 ks by the end of 2018, we are expecting not less than 50 million kg this year.

“I am sure we all agree that there has been increased usage of LPG because of the increased electricity load shedding in the country.

“In 2018 it was actually better in term of load shedding,” he said.

ZERA is on a whirlwind tour around the country educating communities on efficient and affordable use of energy in the backdrop of stepped ZESA electricity charges.

The country’s energy regulatory authority is also educating customers on safe usage of LPG, being an alternative smart source of energy.

Eng Matarutse said ZERA was carrying out outreach programmes to promote the use of LPG throughout the country.

“We are moving big time in training and awareness that even the rural people should also see the convenience of LPG. It is clean, safe and instantaneous, meaning that when you switch it on, heat will be there and if you switch it off heat will be gone.

“So you also see that it’s economic unlike an electric stove that when you switch it off it remains hot, all that energy you would have paid for but you don’t need it.

“LPG is a very good form of energy to use so we are promoting that to people who are even in remote areas so that they also jump onto it hence its growth,” said Eng. Matarutse

While the formation of the Zimbabwe LPG Association was expected go a long way towards regulating the industry, there has been many fly-by-night and unlisenced LPG retailers.