With the erratic electricity power supply, Zimbabweans have been forced to adopt alternatives such as LP gas which was previously nonentity especially because of the “fears” that surround the use of LP gas in the home.
This has seen the mushrooming of LP Gas retailers, especially in the high-density suburbs. As it turns out, most of these retailers are illegal as they neither have licenses or permits to sell LP Gas.
Because of security requirements in terms of how volatile and dangerous LP Gas is, the resellers are required to set up a ZERA certified gas station. This is a 2.5-metre X 2.4-metre X 2.4-metre cage unit made out of iron bars and covered by Chrome deck sheets with an ideal placement plan for gas cylinders inside. This cage is supposed to be placed in an open air setup. (The site plan can be downloaded here).
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For one to get a Gas Retailer licence they need to apply through the local authorities’ Town Planning, Fire and Environment Department where they present their company particulars including CR14, CR6, CR2, Certification of Incorporation and Lease agreement or deeds of the area to be used . (Honestly?)
After the councils, resellers then have to get a compliance certificate from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and the Zimbabwe Energy Regulation Authority. This is to ensure that the premises are suitable for setting up a fuel station and that the fuel itself does not seep toxins into water suppliers and so forth, or such cases as in the event of a fire, what type of environmental damage will be experienced.
Without looking at the complex Local Authority and EMA charges, the ZERA licence is granted at $100 for 2 years. Considering the way our councils are run, it is no wonder LP Gas is sold from the back of the house rather than the demarcated space, exposing people to the dangers of explosion and fires.
Anyone who has dealt with the local authorities especially will tell you that it is not an easy process to get from one point to another whether or not you meet the requirements instructed. It usually requires greasing the cogs that work to get your documents stamped.