ENERGY RELATED ISSUES This presentation will focus on an example of the Ministry of Trade and Industry collaboration with other authorities in tackling complaints from consumers regarding issues related to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
INTRODUCTION Energy is an essential component of all development programmes.Without energy modern life would not exist as we use it daily on various things like cooking, transport,communication,e.tc Almost 90% of energy used comes from fossil fuels(coal,oil and gas) that are exhaustible.
After it emerged that there are some discrepancies regarding the sale of the LPG by retailers, the Consumer Protection Division (CPD) approached Energy Affairs, the Policy makers, and Botswana Bureau of Standards, to map a way forward with regard to how different stakeholders can address the loopholes identified.
BOBS was established by Standards Act of 1995. It is a Parastatal under the Ministry of Trade and Industry Its mandate is to formulate standards, enforce compulsory standards and the Weights and Measures Act and respective Regulations. Regarding Botswana Standards on LPG, it was reported that the Standards are only concerned with the handling, storage and distribution. The Standards are not concerned with LPG quality, material or condition of cylinder.
The Department of Energy (DoE) The institutional framework for the LPG comprises both the Government represented by the Department of Energy, under the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, commercial traders, Multinational Companies and Botswana Oil Limited (BOL) which was established in order to achieve Government’s broader economic objectives of ensuring security of fuel supply and facilitating active citizen involvement in the petroleum industry. As the National Oil Company of Botswana (NOCoB), BOL will serve as the Botswana Government’s agent charged with this important responsibility.
Commercial Affairs • LPG is licensed under the following licenses: • Commercial Hardware License- Limited to a commercial area; • Industrial Hardware License- Limited to an industrial area; • General Dealer (reserved for citizens); • Petrol Filling Station (reserved for citizens).
Consumer protection The Consumer protection Division under the Ministry of Trade and Industry is receiving consumer complaints regarding LPG and some few regarding electricity. LPG issues mainly are of the cylinders which do not last. And a few cases of cylinders blowing up and destroying houses. Electricity Issues registered mainly concern load shedding as it affected our country badly, electrical appliances will be affected as it happens when consumers are unaware.
Issues • Demand for Energy has increased • Commercial Affairs issue licenses without engaging BOBS, therefore, instruments used for refilling of LPG are not inspected nor verified; • All acknowledged outcry regarding under filling of gas; • There are no denominations that specify how LPG should be supplied i.e. the kilograms; • There is non-compliance in the market as some suppliers are not licensed; • Safety standards are not observed as unlicensed suppliers do not take safety into consideration • Unlicensed suppliers are killing the industry as they are cheap.
CHALLENGES • Total dependence on imports (for materials) • No specific regulation in place for sale of LPG in BOBS jurisdiction • Drafting of regulation require a wide spectrum of representative but there is a serious stakeholder apathy
RESOLUTIONS MADE The stakeholders involved agreed on the following: • LPG must be made a mandatory Standard with Botswana Oil Limited (BOL) and the Department of Energy leading the negotiations of demanding for a mandatory standard • Collaboration in conducting intensive consumer education in proper handling of LPG
CONCLUSION When it comes to consumer related issues, Consumer Protection Division is in a position to collaborate with any parastatal, Non-Governmental Organization or any Government Department in trying to resolve issues that may arise. All we need to do is form stakeholder partnerships and collaborate with concerned parties.